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Pro League Reinstatements: When Enough is Enough


RedlightG20

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I must say I was quite shocked to hear the news about Pacman Jones. No, I was not at all surprised when it was reported he was drunk in a hotel room and decided to punch his team-hired bodyguard. I was more surprised when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend Pacman for at least four games this season. "Why?" might you ask? Let me explain.

Adam "Pacman" Jones, as most of us know, has had many run-ins with the law. At least 12 of them have been reported by mainstream media outlets. Here are some of the highlights of his career since being drafted by the Titans in 2005.

Strip club incident

Where: Atlanta

When: April 2005

What: Jones' name appeared on the police incident report after a fight broke out in a strip club. The female involved said she had no plans to pursue the case and it was dismissed.

Hotel incident

Where: Nashville

When: June 2005

What: Security officials at Regal Maxwell House Hotel had trouble getting two of Jones' friends to clear their room after checkout time. Police arrived, smelled marijuana and found some on a tabletop. Jones was in the room, but one of his friends took full responsibility for the evidence.

Nightclub arrest

Where: Nashville

When: July 2005

What:Jones was arrested on two counts of misdemeanor assault and a felony count of vandalism after a fight at a Nashville nightclub. Charges were dismissed less than a year later.

Vehicle confiscation

Where: Nashville

When: April 2006

What: Metro Police said a vehicle registered to Jones was involved in a drug trafficking ring. "Pac Man" was embroidered on the leather seats of a 2004 Cadillac XLR which was confiscated from a friend of Jones. Jones later bought the car back at an auction.

Shots fired

Where: Nashville

When: April 2006

What: Jones was at the scene where gunshots were fired following an altercation at a Nashville gas station at 1:50 a.m. Police questioned Jones but labeled him only as a witness. The incident occurred just three days after the vehicle confiscation.

Nightclub arrest

Where: Murfreesboro, Tenn. When: Aug. 2006

What: Jones was arrested and charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors, for an incident at Swee****er Saloon. With six months of good behavior the charges will be dropped, a judge ruled last month.

Spitting incident

Where: Nashville

When: October 2006

What: Jones was issued a citation for misdemeanor assault after being accused of spitting in the face of a Tennessee State student following a verbal exchange at a downtown nightclub. The charge was dismissed in general sessions court earlier this month.

Nightclub fracas

Where: Las Vegas

When: February 2007

What: Jones took a plea deal to reduce felony charges to a gross misdemeanor in connection with his involvement in a nightclub disturbance. He got probation in return for his testimony about an ensuing triple shooting that left one man paralyzed.

So after the Titans decided to move on without Pacman Jones, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys decided to take a chance on him. Tank Johnson, another Cowboys player who has had run-ins with the law, mostly involving illegal possession of firearms (including assault rifles) and shootings, has thus far seemed to turn his life around and stay out of the spotlight--and handcuffs. With that, Jerry Jones decided to take a chance on Pacman, but ultimately, this was proven to be the wrong move.

Certainly this is not just a problem in the NFL. The NBA also boasts its fair share of troublemakers, as do other leagues through the pros and college ranks. But the real question here is, when is it time for a professional league to say "NO" to a troublesome player seeking reinstatement?

If you look on ESPN.com, there is a poll section with multiple questions about the Cowboys and Pacman's suspension. 44% think he should have a lifetime ban. 26% suggest a short suspension, and 22% suggest a season-long suspension.

My question is, why is suspension even a choice? What about a simple ban from the league? Is that too harsh?

Most certainly not.

Being a player in the NFL is a privilege. Being a starter in the NFL is an even bigger privilege. And being an NFL star, especially on a team typically seen as larger than life as the Dallas Cowboys, is a dream job to most. It is not a right. The world would not crumble if a talented but troubled professional athlete is not allowed to play in the league for the rest of his life because he chooses to break the law repeatedly.

Pacman was given a second chance by the Cowboys, and greatly screwed it up. He apparently does not understand that he not above the law. The money and fame will not always be there, no matter what. To play a child's game and get paid millions, apparently is not enough for him.

Roger Goodell, since he became Commissioner of the league, has repeatedly said the league supports a "No Tolerance Policy" for misbehavior and blatant disregard of league rules. What does this actually mean? Is there a certain number of arrests you must exceed to not be considered for reinstatement? What about drug violations? If your stolen assault rifle is less than 31-inches in length, feel free to suit up for next week's game.

Don't get me wrong. I don't really believe that a professional athlete who happens to get into a bar fight in New York City deserves to be thrown out of the league. For the mostpart, the league, as well as teams, do a fair job of fining said player for his inappropriate behavior. But as with federal law, punishments are much greater for more dangerous actions, such as dealing drugs and weapons, and being involved with deadly shootings.

Take a former NFL player like Mike Vick. He is thrown in jail for two years on multiple dogfighting charges. Now he does not fall into the same category of "criminal" like Pacman Jones. But he is a "criminal" nonetheless. With the backlash against him at his sentencing, I wonder how many believe he will play in the NFL again? Falcons owner Arthur Blank sure does--just not for his team (hey, they do have Matt Ryan at QB after all!). Blank said earlier this week that he wishes that Vick will be allowed to play again in the NFL someday. But let's think about this. Society, or the justice system (use whatever term you want), will be giving Vick a second chance at having a "normal" life--once he is released from prison in the summer of 2009. But honestly, do you agree that he deserves a (yet another) second chance to make millions of dollars playing in the NFL? He was already given a pass by society by not throwing him in jail for the maximum of 10 years. To me, he should be thankful enough for just that.

When is the line drawn? What does it take for the league to start throwing out players who break the law only once? What must that player do to be denied reinstatement? Right now, it seems that the league is OK with criminals for players, who lie and sneak their way through meetings with management, convincing them that their legal troubles are forever behind them and their lives have changed, and are worth being paid millions of dollars once again.

Almost seems too easy, doesn't it?

You're right. It is.

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If you look on ESPN.com, there is a poll section with multiple questions about the Cowboys and Pacman's suspension. 44% think he should have a lifetime suspension. 26% suggest a short suspension, and 22% suggest a season-long suspension.

My question is, why suspend him at all? What about a ban?

A lifetime suspension is a ban.

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I went to college with Pacman and helped him at the math learning center on several occasions. He seemed like a pretty good guy back then.

At this point, there is no way he should be allowed to come back. Strike 23 Pacman, yer out. Way to climb out of a ****ty upbringing, have the world on a silver platter, and manage to completely **** it up. Dumbass.

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I went to college with Pacman and helped him at the math learning center on several occasions. He seemed like a pretty good guy back then.

At this point, there is no way he should be allowed to come back. Strike 23 Pacman, yer out. Way to climb out of a ****ty upbringing, have the world on a silver platter, and manage to completely **** it up. Dumbass.

Agreed ... I'm hoping Goodell has the cajones to do just that. And I believe he will, given that Michael Vick (remember him?) is not guaranteed an automatic return once he is released from federal prison.

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Ban him. They should have never let him back in to begin with. I saw an interview with him and when asked about all his trouble he basically responded with, "they are all coensedences"( I think that's how you spell it) Just bad luck that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jerry Jones is an idiot. I hope the Cryboys go down in flames this season. Serves them right for trying to win by picking losers with a record for trouble.

My main issue with jones(pacman) is this. He was given a second chance and he basically pissed on his teammates. His actions weren't just bad, but selfish and told his teammates that he really doesn't care about them,since what happens to him affects the team as a whole.

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