NFL too hard on ‘Pacman’

On April 9 Tennessee Titans star Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the entire 2007-2008 football season without pay.

New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued the suspension. The league says the suspension was justified by Jones’ prior run-ins with the law and off the field activities from college to now.

Jones had been questioned by police officers 10 times since he came in the league in 2005 but was never convicted of any crime.

Should a man who has never been found guilty in a court of law be punished?

The NFL says yes. But was Jones judged fairly? The NFL is a league of no allegiance. NFL players have a plethora of ways they could injure themselves every time they step out on the field.

Players’ contracts are not binding and can be voided at any time.

I feel the league should be more loyal to the men who make them rich and place their lives on the line every day. Last season, Redskins running back Clinton Portis injured himself tackling a player. Portis argued NFL owners are taking advantage of players because the players don’t get paid for playing preseason games. Yet, this past season the owners extended preseason by adding more games to the preseason schedule. All the money goes straight into the owners’ pockets.

Jones’ goods deeds – yes, good deeds – have been overlooked. He has donated money to both the fire and police departments of Nashville.

Jones has also has taken the time to reach out to the youth of Nashville. He visits inner city schools and speaks to athletes about the do’s and don’ts in life. It might seem ironic that an individual who gets in so much trouble should ever be a role model.

But I’m a strong believer in ‘do as I say and not as I do.’ Before you judge an individual you have to know one’s history. Jones’ father was killed when he just 3 years old. His mother was incarcerated for three years, and this happened before he was 10.

Sometimes when all you’re surrounded by is pain and anger, even when you’re no longer surrounded by it you still behave like you are.

In sports that are dominated by blacks the people who pay the bills are determined to clean up the league’s image.

The NBA and NFL have had incidents where players were suspended for on and off the field incidents. All the past incidents Jones has been involved in during his short career were not under new Commissioner Roger Goodell. So wouldn’t it make sense that he warn Jones if he were to mess up one more time then he’d be suspended instead of just suspending him without giving him a second chance?

I understand that in this society there are rules, and rules aren’t meant to be broken.

But I also thought in this society everybody is innocent until proven guilty. I guess not.

Or maybe in the words of rapper Mysonne, “Is this Justice for just us?”

Richard McLean is a junior broadcast journalism student from Miami. He can be reached at