Thursday, June 21, 2007

Time to send Pacman Packing (redux)

There comes a time, a place when ‘finally’ the Lords of the Pigskin have to say ‘enough is enough’. That day has arrived at long last for Adam Bernard "Pacman" Jones who in the short time frame of less than two years has wrecked havoc on the image of the National Football League. In the last days Jones has been linked to an alleged shooting at a men’s club in Atlanta and is currently being sought by Las Vegas police. When Jones turns himself in to the police in the coming days he will face two felony charges stemming from the strip club melee that occurred in the hours following the 2007 NBA All-Star Game that was held in Las Vegas.

Since the Titans drafted Jones in the April 2005 NFL Draft Pacman has been involved in 11 different altercations with various police departments throughout the United States of America. The good news – Jones hasn’t been convicted of anything (yet). It’s almost inevitable the law of averages are going to catch up with Pacman sooner rather than later.

Pacman’s litany of legal transgressions includes:

As of yesterday (June 20, 2007), Jones has been arrested five times and questioned by police ten times since he was drafted by the Titans in 2005. Many NFL commentators are quick to point out that Jones has more arrests than interceptions since being in the NFL.

On July 13, 2005 Jones was arrested on charges of assault and felony vandalism stemming from a nightclub altercation.

On September 5, 2005 Jones was a guest at the annual Nashville Sports Council Kickoff Luncheon. After a loud verbal tantrum when he was told to wait in line for his vehicle later that evening, Jones was counseled by the police. He also refused to pay for any valet services used that evening.

In October 2005, in a petition filed by the State of West Virginia, it was alleged that Jones had not made regular and sufficient contact with his probation officer and that he did not report his July arrest in Nashville in a timely fashion. The court ordered the probation extended for a period of 90 days, although the state requested it to be extended one year.

On August 25, 2006, Jones was arrested in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for disorderly conduct and public intoxication after claiming that a woman stole his wallet. She claimed that she did not steal anything and Jones spat on her. Police officers said they ordered Jones to leave several times, but he refused, continuing to shout profanities at the woman. A judge granted him six months probation on the conditions that he stays out of further trouble and away from the nightclub.

On October 26, 2006. Jones was cited for misdemeanor assault for allegedly spitting in the face of a female student from Tennessee State University during a private party at Club Mystic, a Nashville nightclub. He was suspended by the Titans for one game and was scheduled to be booked on the charge on November 17, 2006.

On the morning of February 19, 2007 in the hours immediately following the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, Jones is alleged to have been involved in an altercation with an exotic dancer at a local strip club. Cornelius Haynes Jr., better known as the rapper Nelly, and Jones patronized the club on the evening in question. Haynes began to shower the stage with hundreds of one-dollar bills, an act known as "making it rain". Jones then joined Haynes by throwing his own money for "visual effect". Club promoter Chris Mitchell then directed his dancers to collect the money. According to the club's co-owner, Jones became enraged when one of the dancers began taking the money without his permission. He allegedly grabbed her by her hair and slammed her head on the stage. A security guard intervened and scuffled with members of Jones' entourage of half a dozen people. Jones then allegedly threatened the guard's life. During this time Mitchell and a male associate left the club with a garbage bag filled with $81,020 of Jones' money and two Breitling watches, which Police later recovered. After club patrons exited following the original confrontation, the club owner says a person in Jones' entourage returned with a gun and fired into a crowd, hitting three people, including the security guard involved in the earlier skirmish. Although the guard was shot twice, one of the people hit, former professional wrestler Tommy Urbanski, was paralyzed from the waist down. Jones maintains that he did not know the shooter, although the club's owner insists that Jones did.

On March 26, 2007 the Las Vegas Police recommended to the city's district attorney that Jones be charged with one count of felony coercion and also a misdemeanor count of battery and a misdemeanor count of threat to life.

More trouble followed Jones after the altercation, when drug dealer Darryl Moore reported to the police after being busted during a deal about his phone conversations with Jones. "We gotta slow down, man. We gotta get him focused on football, man. He's focused on too much other shit," Moore is alleged to have said. Wiretapped phone conversations between Moore and his friends revealed Moore talking about how Jones bet on college games to earn quick money. "You know, I was talkin' to him the other day about smokin', and he was like 'man, if I didn't smoke I couldn't take all the stress that I'm dealing with right now,'" Moore said.

Jones also is set to appear in a Fayetteville, Georgia court in 2007 for his February 2006 incident on subpoenas for felony and misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges for an incident outside a home. The charges of marijuana in the same state were dismissed.

Jones has not been connected to the Moore drug arrests or convicted for the Vegas stripper incident. But Titans management has said they will talk to Jones about his future with the Titans, and that there is always a possibility of letting him go. The NFL has issued an investigation into the situation, which is looking into setting up stricter penalties for off-field conduct.

On April 3, 2007 Jones met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on to discuss his future and the future of fellow-former West Virginia Mountaineer and Cincinnati Bengals' receiver Chris Henry.

On April 10, 2007 the NFL announced that Jones would be suspended for the entire 2007 season, a suspension not assessed to a player in 44 years (for reasons other than substance abuse) since Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were each suspended for one season for gambling. This suspension also stated that Jones will not receive pay during this suspension and that it is subject to additional review after the tenth regular season game, pending disposition of pending charges. In anticipation, Nick Harper was signed as an unrestricted free agent. What effect the suspension will have on the salary cap is not yet known, although the Titans could seek repayment of the approximately $1.9 million in signing bonus money due Jones in 2007. The suspension carries no guarantee of reinstatement after it has been completed.

On April 14, 2007, Jones announced that he would appeal the suspension set by Goodell. However, since Goodell also hears appeals, the chances of winning any reduction in the suspension are extremely slim.

On May 7, 2007, Jones was stopped at 12:45 a.m. on Interstate 65 heading into downtown after an officer clocked him on radar at 79 mph in a 55 mph zone. Jones was driving his red 2004 Cadillac XLT he bought at police auction last fall. Police seized the Cadillac last spring in a drug bust. The car was not registered to Jones then, but he told a local TV reporter he had loaned the Cadillac to someone for a music video. Police called the man who had the car the main target of their investigation.

June 12, 2007, Jones drops his appeal to the season-long suspension.

On June 18, 2007 Jones was sought by police for questioning after a shooting at an Atlanta strip club allegedly involving members of his entourage. According to police at the scene, Jones was not present during the shooting, and is not being charged.

On June 20, 2007 the Las Vegas Police and Clark County District Attorney's office announced that Jones will face two felony charges stemming from the strip club melee that occurred on February 19, 2007.

The NFL didn’t offer much Wednesday after Las Vegas police announced their intention to indict Jones.

"As we have stated, his status will be reviewed after the Titans' 10th regular-season game," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

ESPN’s well respected NFL analyst made it clear Wednesday, he doesn’t expect to see Jones wearing an NFL uniform in 2007.

“Like his nickname, Titans cornerback Pacman Jones is watching his NFL career rapidly being gobbled up before his eyes.

“To be able to play at all in 2007, Jones would have to clear up this case along with another case in Georgia before November.

“What has to be remembered about Commissioner Roger Goodell's initial ruling is that Jones was given no assurance he would be allowed back into the league in 2008. It's becoming more and more likely that Jones is going to have a difficult time being cleared of his legal troubles by November.

“Jones' most recent incident over the weekend illustrated the Titans cornerback isn't taking his situation seriously. Whether he was guilty or innocent of any crime, Jones was out with friends at around 4 a.m. and has knowledge of his friends having some involvement in a shooting incident outside of a strip club.

“One of Jones' conditions to get back into the league was promising to not be out past midnight. He's violated that provision at least twice. Earlier this spring, he was driving without a license at 12:45 in the morning.

“Some have criticized Goodell for giving Jones one of the league's longest suspensions when he had never been convicted of a crime. Obviously, Goodell anticipated Jones would have some difficulty in the cases in Georgia and Las Vegas.

“Maybe it's fitting that Vegas is the first place in which he's received a formal criminal charge. In a town in which betting is legal, the odds of Jones ever playing in the NFL again are not very good.” Clayton offered.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who has made Pacman Jones the “poster boy” for his new NFL zero tolerance policy in terms of deviant off-field behavior, did offer these thoughts on Pacman following his alleged run-in with the police Monday in Atlanta.

"I would prefer to wait until I know everything that went on before I comment specifically on the incident," said Goodell, who is attending the NFL player health and safety conference dealing with concussions. "So I don't know if 'disappointed' is a fair term to describe how I feel. When I met with Pacman last week, he told me he was taking steps to change things in his life, and he seemed sincere about it. I hope that's the case. But I don't have the facts yet."

"Yes, he did say that he was going to stay away from those places that might be a problem, or places where there could be trouble," Goodell acknowledged.

Clearly Pacman isn’t getting the message. And it’s not as if the NFL isn’t paying attention. When the Baltimore Ravens completed a mini-camp a week ago Ravens head coach Brian Billick made it clear to his players they’d had better behave when they weren’t with the football team.
"Nothing good ever happens after midnight," Ravens coach Brian Billick told his players. "I know that isn't going to keep some of you from going, but at the very least, I hope you feel guilty about it."

"It would be inconceivable for me that a player, if he finds himself in that situation, doesn't know what the consequences are," he said. "It doesn't mean that it won't happen. But I can't imagine a player not understanding how much at risk he is if he conducts himself in a way that could bring that attention to him."

And several Ravens told The Baltimore Sun – they’re starting to understand the message that is being sent out by the NFL.

"[Goodell] definitely got all of our attention," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We're being more careful than we've been.""I had a little incident where there was not alcohol involved and I wasn't at a nightclub. Trouble found me," Suggs said. "I did everything in my power to prevent it and it didn't get prevented. In every case, you have to analyze and look at both sides of the story before making hard decisions and giving an eight-game and a year suspension out."
"I think we're getting to the point now [with] sponsors and kids, where you have to conduct yourself a certain way to put on an NFL uniform," Ravens defensive tackle Trevor Pryce said.

"If you're going to hold people accountable for that, then I'm all for it.""You have guys that are making a lot of money and you can't just go out there and pretend you're invincible. Or else, they're going to take that money away from you," Pryce said. "So, I think he's trying to help you more than he is trying to hurt you. It's like, 'Here you go, this is what's happening. Take care of yourself or we're going to take care of it.' "
At the center of Roger Goodell’s “perfect storm” of deviant behavior when it comes to NFL players -- Adam "Pacman" Bernard Jones. To Roger Goodell and the National Football League – Pacman behavior off the football field represents a clear and present danger to the future of our football team and to our organization? A simple definition of “deviant behavior” describes exactly what Pacman off field antics are all about – a person would be considered to be acting deviant in society if they are violating what the significant social norm in that particular culture is.

After his junior year at West Virginia , he opted to forego his senior year and declare for the NFL Draft. He was the first defensive player drafted, taken 6th overall by the Tennessee Titans. He then held out in a contract dispute, missing most of training camp.

During his rookie season he had a total of 44 tackles, 10 pass deflections, but no interceptions. He totaled 1,399 return yards and 1 TD.

At the end of his sophomore season in the NFL, Jones totals 62 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 12 deflected passes, 4 interceptions, 130 return yards, 1 interception touchdown, 440 punt return yards and 3 punt return touchdowns. His 12.9 yards per punt return average led the NFL, edging out Chicago 's Devin Hester by .1 of a yard. His 26.1 yards per kick return average ranked him 7th in the league. Pacman also caught two passes on offense for 31 yards and rushed twice for 8 yards. His best performance came against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15; Jones had an 83-yard interception returned for a score, a 70-yard kick return, and broke up a touchdown pass to Matt Jones to save the game.

Even with constant off the field incidents, he has emerged as one of the NFL's elite playmakers. He is an explosive kick returner, as well as good cover corner. He, in certain packages, also plays offense.

Pacman earned $3.8 million as a member of the Titans in 2005 after being selected with the sixth overall pick by the Titans. According to the NFLPA’s salary database, Jones was paid $842,500 in 2006 and is scheduled to be paid $1.29 million in 2007.

Its important to understand NFL players are paid the bonuses included in their contracts immediately upon signing and are paid whatever additional salaries they or their agents negotiate during the years of the contract. Pacman has two more years after the 2007 season remaining in his contract ($1.74 million in 2008 and $2.19 million in 2009). The Titans can cut Jones if they wish (if they cut him before the start of the 2007 they would not be responsible for the remaining three years or the remaining $5.22 million on his contract).

As for the Titans – giving the franchise the benefit of the doubt, as great as he has been on the field he has been a nightmare for the organization off-the field.

Titans Coach Jeff Fisher, speaking at the team’s minicamp practice Wednesday, reiterated comments he made about Jones on Monday according to The Tennessean:

“As I said several days ago, these are his issues. We have moved on and we will continue to move on,” Fisher said. “ … As far as I am concerned it’s no longer our business. Those are his issues and he has to deal with the commissioner’s rules and we have moved on.

“From a personal standpoint you wish him the best, but from a professional standpoint he certainly let us down so we have moved on. … I don’t have any expectation to talk to him.”

Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a prepared statement:

“My organization’s sole focus is the 2007 season. Our efforts are concentrated on the players contributing to the goals we have set. We will monitor developments regarding Adam Jones and will expect him to abide by the terms of his suspension as set forth by Commissioner Goodell. We are moving forward as a team and do not expect to comment on any future matters concerning him until his suspension is completed.”

Does it make sense for the Titans to simply cut Jones? That’s a much more difficult question to answer than it is to ask. When Pacman Jones is on a football field he excels. There is no doubt Pacman Jones is good enough to play on Sunday’s. At the same time Pacman Jones has serious issues with the other days of the week and most of the NFL’s off-season. If the Titans cut Jones its likely another NFL team will attempt to sign Jones (the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders come to mind). It’s better for everyone if Roger Goodell took the unprecedented step and banned Adam Pacman Jones for life – preventing him from ever playing in the NFL again. It should be considered a privilege to play in the National Football League, not a right, and Pacman Jones should lose his chance to play on Sunday’s.

For SportsBusinessNews this is Howard Bloom. Sources cited and used in this Insider Report: Wikipedia,, The Tennessean

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