Adam Jones is a moron. Yes, I said it and I mean it. As a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, I was mortified when we acquired Adam "Pacman" Jones -- even more so than when T.O. became a part of the team. I could not fathom how anyone could be more toxic to a team in the locker room, on the field, or during a press conference than Terrell Owens -- until "Pacman" got picked up. Before you start blogging, I understand that people make mistakes and need to be given a second chance, but damn. Adam "Pacman" Jones' had every chance and blew every single one of them.
This is a man who was facing a lifetime ban from the National Football League if he did not tow the line after his reinstatement. What does he do? Get tied up in some more foolishness, and at a strip club, no less. Last week, John Barr, a reporter for ESPN's Outside the Lines, contacted the NFL, the Cowboys and Jones' attorneys about a piece scheduled to air in which three Atlanta-area men alleged that Jones arranged for someone to shoot at them. When did this alleged incident occur? Two months after Adam Jones was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2007. It took this latest allegation for the Dallas Cowboys to release a player that the team should have never acquired.
Before coming to Dallas, Jones was arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention after Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005. In one of those instances, his actions led to shootings at a Las Vegas strip club when he made it rain and was pissed off that people actually started going after the $80,000 that he gingerly tossed into the air. The shootout left a man paralyzed and got Pacman suspended from the league. No amount of talent can make up for this type of craziness.
Nonetheless, Adam Jones did the right thing, entering an alcohol rehabilitation center and begging forgiveness. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, out of the goodness of his heart, gave Pacman another chance. The truth is that we needed a cornerback and a wide receiver and, in spite of the flawed personalities of Jones and T.O., we would be shoo-ins for the playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl with their talent.
Cue the music. If you watch football, then you know that this was a pipe dream deferred. The 2008 regular season was a disaster and Jones added no value whatsoever to the team -- none whatsoever. Weighing the talent of an athlete over his character yielded no good results. To add insult to injury, these new allegations have surfaced. Pacman allegedly ordered his homies/thugs/friends to follow a former police officer to the parking lot of a suburban Atlanta strip club and shoot at him and his family. Why? Because one of them tried to chat up Jones' "girlfriend," whom he mistook for a stripper. When did this happen? In 2007, when Jones was suspended from the league. A world-class athlete given yet another chance to change does the same thing in Atlanta that got him in trouble in Las Vegas.
This, in my mind, makes him a world-class idiot. I want to banish him to the island of misfits along with O.J. Simpson, Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick, but at least those three were good at their jobs. As for the Cowboys, to pretend that this latest incident is the reason for trading Jones is ludicrous. The Cowboys, like every other professional sports team, want to win at all costs. Jones did not produce, so they were going to cut their losses and save his salary in 2009 anyway. They just needed an out, much like someone in a relationship with the wrong person, but too scared to admit it.
In the meantime, while we're questioning the character of Adam "Pacman" Jones, we need to do the same for Jerry Jones, who clearly cannot see the forest for the trees. With all of the talent that the Cowboys had on the field this year, we still did not make the playoffs. In sports, you can have all of the talent in the world, but without the right chemistry, attitudes and off-field behaviors, it won't amount to anything.
Jerry Jones is not alone because many of us like to win at all costs, but sometimes the cost is too great. America's team is no longer that -- they should change our name to the Dallas Outlaws. According to the statement that Adam "Pacman" Jones made when informed of this incident, he has not changed at all. He's still defiant, immature and narcissistic. "I love me some me"? Spoken like a true imbecile.
Professional athletes are adults and need to start acting like it. We all make mistakes, but we learn from them. When you get a second chance, or 13th in Jones' case, use it wisely. Instead of thinking about winning games, win back the confidence of the NFL, your team and your fans. Go sit down somewhere like Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens linebacker from whom we haven't heard a peep since his brush with the law in 2000. Facing murder charges once scared him straight, and he has been a model citizen ever since.
Am I still a Cowboys fan? Yes, which makes me a hypocrite. Since I'm officially a hypocrite, I'd like to toss Michael Vick's name into the hat for quarterback since having folks engaged in felonious pursuits is not a obstacle for team membership. We could use a consistently good, well-rounded quarterback. But seriously, this latest incident speaks to why second chances are so hard to come by.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of communications and media studies at Goucher College and editorial director for RushmoreDrive.com.