July 17, 2007

Should Pacman Jones Be Able to Attend Camp?

I really hate to bump the athlete dating show post from the top, but ESPN.com is reporting that Pacman Jones may be allowed to attend training camp. At last check, nearly 75% of ESPN.com readers do not think that Pacman should be allowed to attend training camp.

Here's my two cents (three if we get enough hits!): The NFL, at least under Goodell, is facing the criminal law equivalent of "nature v. nurture". Is the NFL's new low-tolerance suspension system intended to punish offenders, or rather to rehabilitate them? I do not know much about Goodell's politics or personal beliefs, but I have to think that it is in Goodell's interest to appear tough while rehabilitating offenders. There could be nothing better for him than to have the supposed "bad boy" NFL players return and become model citizens.

That's precisely why Tank Johnson's assertion that he would become the NFL's "Man of the Year" was so endearing. He didn't say he'd be the DPOY (since either Ed Reed or Ray Lewis will be anyway), but rather he claimed he would be the best "man" in the NFL. That's something he can control, Arizona police and the Chicago Bears be damned.

I have to admit that I am rooting for Pacman, which might not be a surprise since I also forgave Barry Bonds. If there be one amongst us who does not root for the lovable fuckup (see: Daly, John), I don't want to know that person. I also have an unfortunate admiration for the Titans, partly because I am a Ravens fan and the Titans v. Ravens matchups of the late 90's solidified my undying love for the NFL. It's rare in sports to feel admiration for the rival opponent rather than visceral hatred (Maryland v. Duke, Sox v. Yankmes, etc.).

More to the point, I really respect Jeff Fisher. He's a professional bass fisherman who gets great things out of an undertalented team. They've always been undertalented. Do you realized they struck fear in opponents' hearts with players like Yancey Thigpen, Tyrone Calico, Neil O'Donell, and Frank Wycheck? Other than Steve McNair and Eddie George, Bruce Matthews was their marquis player.

Back to the original concept behind the post. Goodell needs Pacman to clean himself up and play, and play well, for the Titans. If that happens, the system works. If Pacman continues to feed his strip club addiction, the suspension makes the NFL look even more like an oppressive corporation than it already is.

At the very least, punishing the Pacmen and Tanks of the world keeps attention away from steroids talk.

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