Pacman Suspension Is Wrong

The following piece has been written by featured contributor, John Ramey 

Let me first disclose I am no Pacman Jones fan. He is a defensive back for a team I care very little about in a league I like even less, especially after today’s action from NFL Commissioner, Roger “Benito” Goodell.

Pacman Jones has been suspended for the entire 2007 season. And I’m wondering why.

Oh yes, he has a litany of arrests from 2005 and 2006. He has been involved in an ugly shooting incident in Vegas this year. Pacman may very well be a bad guy. I have no proof that he is not.

how EVAH

The law has traditionally been applied in unequal volumes upon the young and the black. So let’s keep that in mind before we decide that Pacman is always “at the wrong place at the wrong time.” American Law Enforcement has a 400+ year history of picking on the black man. This is an unimpeachable fact. It is not inconceivable, nor even unreasonable to assume Pacman’s sordid history with the police can be, in part, a symptom of this societal ill. You will either understand this as truth or dismiss it as excuse making. Whatever.

What really concerns me is the lack of outcry. It is an outrage that the NFL Commissioner, the governing office for 32 football teams, can unilaterally suspend Pacman for a season. Isn’t that blacklisting? Collusion? Let’s say I am an employee of Larry Brown Media Enterprises. Let’s say I’m part of an investigation relating to a very serious crime. Is it ethical or legal for Larry to suspend me, assuming my cooperation with the investigation has not affected my ability to perform the duties for which Larry has hired me to perform? Has Pacman’s ability to perform football duties for the Titans been impaired by these incidents?

Moreover, if there is something in Pacman’s contract that allows the league to take such an action resulting in his being contacted by law enforcement, is that an ethical agreement? Legal? Are these agents even reading the damn things? What good is that union? I’m waiting for proof that NFL Labor leadership aren’t the lapdogs of the commissioner’s office.

Some have pointed out to me that Pacman’s unsavory reputation has impaired “the fans'” ability to enjoy any game in which Pacman performs, and that the NFL is protecting “the fans”. But when was it legal for an employer to deny a worker his right to earn a living simply because certain patrons had a problem with said worker?

Oh, wait! I remember it used to happen all the time before the Equal Employment Opportunity executive order was signed in 1965. You might recall that period as American Apartheid. Or you might not. How convenient.

Here’s a hint: If you have a problem with Pacman’s personal affairs, I suggest you root against him, or boo him, or choose not to patronize the Titans, or the NFL, or boycott their sponsors.

Larry Brown has pointed out to me that the Commissioner is well within his right to suspend Pacman in order to preserve the NFL’s reputation. If this is the case, I am hereby encouraging a boycott of the NFL by current and future players. Only a fool would willingly bind themselves in legal fashion to an employer so obsessed with the whims of racist law enforcement over the interests and labor rights of its most basic and beautiful product, the players. 60% of the NFL is black and I’m pretty sure that means 60% of the league has an elevated chance of being fucked with, merited or otherwise, by the police. I encourage all those in the players union to rethink the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement. Think about it; if the NFL is banning players at will because of police contact, not convictions, no felonies, no jail-time but mere police contact, then it might not be the best place for minority athletes to draw a paycheck.

Surely we as a society cannot cheer the denial of a man his right to exploit his considerable skills in his given profession, because that would be inhumane. The welcoming of this action is disgusting. Shame on Roger Goodell, the NFL, and all of the rest of you who think this is acceptable.

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  • Gene


    Pacman and Henry are bad dudes, no matter what color they are. Don’t play the race card here. The commissioner of the NFL has the right to suspend them if their conduct is detrimental to the NFL and the game.

    Two white guys named Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were each suspended a year by then-commissioner Pete Rozelle for gambling because it was in the best interest of the NFL and the game, and they were both future Hall of Famers.

  • http://myspace.com/alanbshepard gp john

    IF Goodell has the right, I’m questioning if the players should stand for it. It’s totally draconian, and predisposed to hurt black players more than others. It’s not about the race card, it’s about the fact that the “perception” of being a bad guy is admissable evidence in deciding whether PacMan, or anyone, can continue to make a living. If being a “bad guy” means run-ins with the police, this means Black players are at an inherent disadvantage and will face an elevated risk of violating a league policy. Which is wrong.

    And players’ police involvment is nowhere NEAR the threat to the league’s integrity that gambling presents.

  • Gene

    Open your eyes!!
    This is not your stereotypical liberal case of the black physician being pulled over in a white neighborhood and being harassed because of his race.
    Have you seen the list of offenses for which Pacman Jones had his run ins? These took place because of his character, not his race.
    The NFL players’ union, the head of which is Gene Upshaw, who is African-American, is not as upset about this as you are. Have you stopped to ask yourself why?
    In our society today, it is very hard to get witnesses to testify because of the intimidation factor. Just ask Larry, whose close friend was killed in cold blood. Probably fifty people know who did it but are afraid to come forward for fear of retaliation. The lack of a conviction does not mean the perpetrator was innocent. I cannot believe that you think that Pacman and his posse were innocent in all of those police encounters for a wide variety of offenses and that they did not ever intimidate witnesses.
    Athletes and entertainers in general get many extra chances that you or I do not get, regardless of race. I would have been discharged from all of my past jobs for only one ot two of Pacman’s escapades. What about you?
    This is not about race. It is about the integrity and honor of pro football. Remember, any football player is free not to go to the NFL if he doesn’t like the rules and bylaws. Kudos to Roger Goodell for doing what most commissioners in all sports have been too chicken to do for too many years.

  • http://myspace.com/alanbshepard gp john

    i never alleged he was innocent
    i’m just asking
    what business is it of my employers if i am dealing with the police outside of the wokrplace

    and if it IS their business, which it’s not,
    then a policy exists that penalizes a specific group of employees more than others

    the NFL’s integrity is not at stake because pacman is a jackass or even a criminal, as long as said crimes, of which he’s yet to be found guilty, do not involve his ability to play football

  • http://www.player-sports.com Jay

    What is it with this race-card crap, quit playing the race-card-card crap. It’s no coincidence that 3 of the first players targeted were black, and the only players that have been targeted are black. There were 36 players arrested last year, 6 were white.

    These are the facts Pacman is innocent until proven guilty, yes this holds true even for black men, last I checked, that’s the way it went. If Roger Goodell wishes to impose his new standard, judge, jury, etc… to protect the league he should do it uniformly.

    How about banning alcohol at games? Minor league baseball has really caught on in the last couple years, because it’s family friendly. How about Philly, the games there are so bad they have a jail under the stadium. Shouldn’t Mr. Goodell be talking to that organization, saying straighten up your fanbase or lose the team.

    Goodell’s efforts so far seem to be nothing more than pandering to the bigoted fans of the NFL Further what is Goodell saying by not punishing athletes like Jeremy Stevens, who just recently received a DUI. Is drunk driving an approved crime by Goodell. Some way to clean up the image.

    I’m not boycotting the NFL I’m just going to quit watching. It’s one thing to have bigoted fans, but Goodell just rubs me wrong on so many levels.

  • http://myspace.com/alanbshepard gp john

    yay jay

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