Sunday, January 11, 2009

RIP—Here Lies the Career of Pacman Jones, NFL PLayer (September 2005-December 2008)

Oh, where to begin, where to begin.

With Adam "Pacman" Jones, that's always the question because nobody really knows where the beginning was. I'm not sure even Pacman knows. You could argue it started with his father's murder when Pacman was only four years old. Or maybe it started during his freshman year at West Virginia, when his grandmother (who helped raise him with his mother) died of cancer.

Perhaps it started with that first fight that landed him on probation at West Virginia.

Or maybe it was that first arrest on July 13, 2005 for assault and felony vandalism stemming from (you guessed it) a nightclub altercation. Those charges were later dismissed.

Or maybe the onset was some incident back in his youth about which only Pacman knows.

The point is that, regardless of where the genesis of Pacman's troubles falls, the end has arrived. This latest firestorm—first reported by our favorite destroyer of professional lives, ESPN—is the death knell for Jones' professional football life.

One can only hope it is not the same for his literal one.

Despite Pacman's posturing to the contrary, no National Football League team will touch him with a 50-foot pole. He is beyond radioactive at this point. He is beyond cancerous. He is beyond infectious.

He is a radioactive AIDS patient with open arterial wounds and some new form of contagious, airborne leukemia.

The NFL's top health inspector, Roger Goodell, won't let him back in the League for a hundred years.

For a more thorough summary of Pacman Jones' legal trouble, go here. Otherwise, below is a quick recap:
  • Pre-NFL—fight at West Virginia landed him on probation
  • July 13, 2005—aforementioned arrest; charges dismissed
  • February 6, 2006—arrested for marijuana possession, throws a punch at a cop during the arrest, booked for felony obstruction of justice plus two misdemeanor counts of obstructing police, drug charge dismissed
  • April 18, 2006—witness to a shooting at a gas station, no charges filed as Jones is NOT involved
  • August 25, 2006—more misdemeanor charges stemming from another nightclub altercation, a woman claims Pacman spit in her face
  • October 26, 2006—another misdemeanor assault charge for spitting in the face of another woman at another nightclub
  • February 19, 2007—the Vegas nightclub shooting
  • June 18, 2007—the date of the Atlanta incident at the heart of the breaking story
The point is not that Pacman did all those things. Considering the crowd he runs with and seems to be drawn to when the sun goes down, I'm sure some of it is fabricated for attention and/or money. Make no mistake, many of his accusers and "victims" are as credible as Jones himself.

However, you simply cannot avoid overall culpability when you have seven major confrontations with police in less than three years. Impossible. Even if over half the incidents are total and absolute fabrications, that still leave three major confrontations.

Or one per year. Guilty.

Furthermore, this latest episode (pretty damaging on its own) is fatal when placed in context. Not only is this the second shooting episode that pretty obviously involves Pacman and his entourage, it casts severe doubt on Jones' already-shaky defense for the first one.

As ESPN's report points out, Pacman partially explained away the Vegas shooting, which left one many paralyzed from the waist down, by saying two strangers where the triggermen. Jones claimed that he didn't know the men and that they subsequently extorted/threatened him.

Forget all the other circumstantial stuff, all the other conspiratorial whisperings and confessional allegations by other shady players in the drama. That bit of Jones' story is on the record in a court document.

Game over.

Because one of the these strangers (Edward "Slugga" Morris) is identified by witnesses to the Atlanta altercation. An eye-witness ID made all the more credible by the fact that Morris has a tat in the middle of his forehead.

Oh, and he's on the club's tape as part of Pacman's entourage on the night in question. Dear me.

So a guy who Pacman claims paralyzed a man, extorted him, and then threatened his family was with Jones four months later? This is a pro athlete who allegedly flips out when he can't get his car right away or another male even looks at his women.

Seems a little odd that he'd have buried the hatchet so quickly, no?

Of course, Pacman explains away this little brouhaha by saying it was back in the days when he had a drinking problem.


That might work except why does a drinking problem explain attending strip clubs (that require pat-downs at the door no less) late at night? I've always been told nothing good happens after midnight.

Why does a drinking problem explain constantly solving confrontations with heat? I'm not gonna pretend I've never let my emotions get the best of me, but who goes directly for a gun?

Why does a drinking problem explain associating with, not only gang members, but bangers who founded vicious factions? Slugga Morris apparently started the International Robbing Crew, known as one of the most brutal associations in Atlanta's storied gangland history.

Why does a drinking problem explain repeated and egregious failure to learn from his own mistakes?

The answer to all of the above is that it doesn't.

And that's why Pacman's days in the NFL are over.

Nope, I'm not sure we'll ever know where exactly the beginning of Pacman Jones' demise was.

But it's end has arrived.

Finally, his career can rest in peace.

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