Is Pacman Jones a Victim or another Spoiled Athlete?


            Just when critics of professional athletes had all of them, such as Pacman Jones, stereotyped as thugs and hoodlums, police in Las Vegas and Seattle dropped a bombshell on haters of the future Dallas Cowboys cornerback.

            According to the Associated Press, Adam “Pacman” Jones paid extortion money to Arvin Kenti Edwards, 29, of Renton, Wash. who allegedly opened fire at a strip club and paralyzed an employee during NBA All-Star Weekend on February 19, 2007 in Las Vegas.

            Las Vegas police said the two briefly met outside the club after Jones incited a melee.  Shortly after the two parted ways, the alleged gunman fired shots towards the club.

            According to the police, someone contacted Jones about a week later and ordered him to pay “hush money” or the alleged perpetrator would “go after Jones, his mother and daughter.”

            “Jones pleaded no contest Dec. 6 in Las Vegas to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct in a plea deal that reduced two felony charges of coercion, which each carried a possible sentence of one to six years in prison,” according to the A.P.  “In return, he agreed to tell police what he knew about the gunman.  Jones never acknowledged any role in the shooting.”

            Subsequently, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell for the Las Vegas incident and past transgressions suspended the newly acquired Cowboys cornerback.  Jones is currently seeking reinstatement into the league.
            If the recent developments are true, did Jones really do anything that warranted such harsh treatment from the league?

            In hindsight, many people would have responded the same way if their families were threatened.

            Often, we see athletes and entertainers involved in extracurricular activity and many critics are so quick to “jump on the bandwagon” and paint them all with one big brush.

            In reality, when many haters see them, they instantly see dollar signs, and consequently they will do anything to extort money out of them because of jealousy.

            Some absurd critics, like Skip Bayless of ESPN, have even stated that athletes should stay in their house at all times except to practice their trade, because he believes giving up your entire life is just a consequence of fame and fortune.

            When the late Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was murdered in his Florida home, reporters scrutinized his checkered past and falsely believed that his death had something to do with the mistakes he made in the past.

            However, the alleged perpetrators had been invited to the house by one of Taylor’s family members and believed he would be an easy target for robbery.

            For days his family, friends and teammates watched as his reputation was dragged through the mud by reporters eager to print an interesting story.  Despite the adversity, his family members held their heads high as their loved-one endured persecution for being a victim of a senseless crime that could have claimed the life of anyone of us.

            When Durham, N.C. police arrested three Duke University lacrosse players for the alleged sexual assault of an exotic dancer, the media and public quickly painted them as a bunch of snobbish elitist who believed they could get away with “murder” simply because of who they were.

            The public later discovered that the young woman fabricated the entire story and District Attorney Mike Nifong withheld evidence to gain favor with the Black community of Durham, N.C. as he sought reelection.

            Is Jones that latest victim of a society that is so quick to judge those with more financial means than the average American?

            Truthfully, many athletes and entertainers are no different from the average American.  They were willing to do anything to make a better life for them and their family.  Unfortunately, many haters are also willing to do anything to take that livelihood away from them.

Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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