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.
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.