NFLPA’s Backwards Policies Could Make “Pacman” A Player For Life

By Gregory Moore
Updated: February 26, 2007


Adam "Pacman' Jones is once agaiin the center of a criminal inquiry but may still be playing in the NFL next season.

SAN ANTONIO – I don’t want to go Tim Hardaway on anyone but I’m feeling a little angry this week. Actually I’ve been feeling this way probably since last Tuesday and it has just taken me this long to figure out how I want to vent my frustration.

What’s my frustration this week? How about the fact that there’s another NFL football player, an African American no doubt, who has decided that he and his ‘pardnah’s’ are going to act a plum fool during a much ballyhooed event.

I’m talking about Adam “Pacman” Jones and the fact that he has now caused trauma, pain and despair on an innocent bystander and the fact that the Black community continues to make him and others like him the ‘poster child’ of what success is.

I’ve debated a few days on how to write this because I didn’t want to just go off half cocked. I really wanted to examine everything that was unveiling in front of me at that time.

And so I have been reading other editorials and news reports on Jones’ events. I’ve studied stories in which the NFLPA’s Gene Upshaw and the players are ready to police their own. And so here is where I am now. I am highly upset at not just Jones or any other player who is doing something criminally and/or morally wrong.

I’m upset with the NFLPA because why does it take massive coverage of a legal matter to force them to act in a fiduciary manner. Here’s my point of why I think that guys like Pacman Jones, Chris Henry and others who have had legal troubles will still be collecting a paycheck years from now.

I think these guys will filter through whatever system they put in place because the NFLPA is too scared to truly be a proactive organization like it should be in the real world.

Labeling Pacman as a thug is an easy thing for me to do in this piece and believe me, I would love to throw him under the bus. After all, this is now the EIGHTH time that his name has shown up on a criminal complaint or legal entanglement.

Is he an embarrassment to the Tennessee Titans? Heck that franchise should be finding a way to get rid of him and to implement their own personal conduct policy standards in their workplace. However I’m not going to go to that card yet.

What I am going to do is educate you, the reader, as to why you as a fan should be highly upset with the five to ten percent of the NFL players who are destroying what the 90 to 95% of the other players are working towards. So in order for me to show you why I am as angry as you should be, I dug into my background files for stories and found a NFL rookie symposium agenda.

PLAYERS KNOW THAT CERTAIN THINGS ARE WRONG The NFL was gracious enough to send me this agenda when I was doing a radio show about the bad behaviors of some athletes and why the league needs to step in and correct the problem forth with.

At the time I did that segment, it was probably mid season or just a few games before that point. I wanted to know what was going on in the symposium because I wanted to write an article on how rookies need to conduct themselves and also be able to effectively deliver such information over the airwaves.

But the toughest thing is to actually educate fans as to what they should know about the players they worship. That is where this article comes into play and where this symposium agenda plays a big part of that process.

Every rookie in any sports league has such a symposium. The NFL is no different. The league sent me the 2006 agenda and from what I have skimmed through, it is definitely something that could be beneficial to each and every player who first gets into the league.

However, that doesn’t mean that every player would adhere to what is down on this piece of paper. It’s like this phrase I use at times: you can lead a horse to water and he’ll do two things; either he’ll drink or he’ll walk away. But you never expect for the dang thing to sit there and drown in the trough.

That is the case with those five to ten percent players who are always in the police blotters. They are doing the dumbest thing in their lives like the horse that couldn’t walk away or drink from the trough.

Instead of these players enjoying themselves playing a kid’s game, they are content in immersing themselves and their families into a lifestyle that could ultimately get them killed, broke or worse; indigent and psychotic from drug use.

Guys like Pacman and Chris Henry know all too well about the seminar and it is just dumbfounding how guys who went to college don’t understand those ramifications of their actions. Here is just a sample of what was on the symposium in 2006: 9:20-10:20 a.m. Roundtable Discussion: Ballroom Overcoming Adversity, A Player’s Perspective. Moderator: Jay Glazer 10:35-11:20 a.m. Breakout Group Sessions: See Breakout Choices, Decisions, Consequences Room Assignments Look at those two subjects for a moment. I wonder what Glazer had to tell those guys as the moderator. More importantly I’d like to know who was on the panel.

The reason why I think it would be interesting for you the fan to know about those two topics is because the third example definitely correlates with the other two. That third example is: 1:00-1:40 p.m. Roundtable Discussion: Players and the Media. Moderator: Adam Schefter So imagine you have a rookie coming up from this year’s draft and he’s sitting in this symposium.

Let’s suppose that at the 9:20 a.m. mark on a specific day at this location where this symposium is being held that Jamie Dukes is now talking to these young players about overcoming adversity in your life and then you break out for the breakout group session on “Choices, Decisions, Consequences”. I wonder what examples are going to be used this year about one’s actions?

Now let’s say that at the 1:00 p.m. mark, I get the call to be the moderator for the roundtable discussion, Players and the Media. One thing I can guarantee you if that would happen. Those players would be put on notice that if you screw up you will be put on a skewer by the press.

Why would I put that warning out there? Because to me it is just like if you warn someone about smoking. You know it’s bad for your health but people do it anyway. Well Schefter, Eison and others over the years have been warning players about how their negative actions in public will come back and bite them in the ass.

Think anyone took notice? I doubt it. Remember Pacman and Henry both went to West Virginia and both have been in trouble too many times to count. Other players have simply blown off the ‘media’ warning thinking that being caught in an uncompromising position would not cause them harm.

Like I said before about the horse, this is where the stupid factor comes into effect. It goes into affect because if you were a bad apple from jump, you gonna be a bad one when you hit the ground.

But suffice it to say, every player has been warned about his on the field and off the field responsibilities as an employee of the NFL. And that very supposition brings me back to my original argument about the union dropping the ball on something they should been done had handled back when the salaries got astronomical.

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY IS WELL, JUST A RICH FOOL Upshaw said recently on a radio broadcast that the players are behind tough penalties for off the court issues with a player. I find that quite amusing, as I know what the personal conduct policy states.

What I find comical is that the union has never thought about policing its own until something this dramatic has come to light. The union should have been on top of this almost two decades ago and trying to right wrongs now is doing nothing more than sweeping the issue under the rug.

While I’m all for tougher sanctions on the jackasses ho want to ruin a good thing, I ‘m wondering where is the policing power going to come from. Who is going to initiate the legislation to make sure that it’s done properly? The union?

And when a member gets into a legal situation in which criminal action could be the result, will the union be the one to call up the team and say, “hey player x is on his third strike, we’re sending you the release paperwork?” Probably not and there ladies and gentlemen is the problem. What the union wants to do is to have sanctions similar to what they have for the substance abuse policy. I’m sorry that’s not good enough and it’s way too easy for players of this day and age.

What truly needs to happen is for the league and the union to defer all matters of criminal constitution to the law enforcement agencies and that a player is immediately suspended from the league if he is involved in any criminal activity.

It may sound harsh but the union has to send these wayward guys a lesson. Due process is something that is afforded when you are a criminal but when you’re an employee, there is no such thing.

Let’s hope that the union finds out a way to make sure that these rich young fools who think they are so fly learn to become old, savvy veterans who leave the craziness behind.

For if the league doesn’t do something that is harsh enough to be a wake up call, we will see a bigger ‘thug’ element come into the league than what we already see now.