A night out with friends is turning into more than expected for Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew following an alleged altercation at the Conch House in St. Augustine, Florida. According to reports, some of Jones-Drew’s entourage were becoming unruly and harassing a female patron, enough to where they were asked to leave her alone. The request was disregarded and it finally got to a point where the individual(s) in Jones-Drew’s group were asked to leave, which initiated a fight between a Conch House employee and one of the men that was with Jones-Drew. The man was quickly restrained in a headlock by security. Following this, reports say Jones-Drew attacked and sucker punched the Conch House bouncer in the jaw.
Following the incident, reports state that Jones-Drew and his acquaintances left the restaurant in a hurry. Police were unable to locate Jones-Drew and his associates. It is being said that Drew is in Miami training for the upcoming season. It was mentioned on www.staugustine.com that Jones-Drew trains in Miami and returns to Jacksonville on the weekends as he did Memorial Day weekend. The Jaguars have concluded their OTA practices this week, and for the second year in a row, Jones-Drew did not attend. It has been released that this case has been turned over to the State Attorney’s office.
Unfortunately for Jones–Drew, there is a lot of negative media being directed towards him. Rightly so or not, some of the ridicule is the old faithful "thug" term being used to describe the Jaguars team leader. Along with the: "if it was any other player, he would be arrested." But the most stinging statement was, "Superman is really human." Who ever said Jones-Drew was Superman? Answer: The Fans and the media, simply because Jones-Drew wears a Superman logoed t-shirt underneath his jersey and is a great football player. And that is where the problem arises. He’s human, not Superman and most importantly not a role model. Nor should any other player be considered one.
It was said best by NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley back in 1993, "I’m not paid to be a role model. I’m paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court." And that is how all athletes should be viewed. They are there to do a job and help their teams win games, not moral issues and especially not to raise our country’s children.
With that being said, athletes need to realize that there is a fine line they walk. They are constantly in eyeshot of children with all the games that are broadcast on television; the countless sports highlight shows broadcast at all hours of the day, and the coverage that the media surrounds them with. The players should be able to live their lives as they choose, but they represent a team, in this case with Jones-Drew, the Jaguars, that are much larger than the player. The team is their employer and any negative publicity is not good for either party.
Over the years there have been athletes that have been considered "role-models" and a lot of them have come up short in their off the field lives. For a few examples: Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest NBA player of all time, was accused of having a gambling problem and it was reported he cheated on his wife. Thurman Thomas, Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back, was arrested outside a hotel for smoking marijuana while at a golf tournament. OJ Simpson, Hall of Fame running back, Heisman trophy winner, actor, was accused and acquitted of double murder. (Really?) Secondly, Simpson is now involved in a kidnapping and robbery case. Michael Vick, NFL quarterback, sentenced to 23 months for conspiracy of dog fighting/killing. Brett Favre was in hot water for reportedly sending text photos of his own "personal equipment" to an employee of the New York Jets, while he was married. Dave Meggett, NFL running back, was sentenced to 30 years for raping a woman.
The list could go on and on, but the overall point is, people need to realize as a society we hold these people to a higher standard and that is not fair to them nor is it right to do to children. These are men/woman that are great athletes and that is where the line needs to be drawn. Fans know nothing about what these people are like behind closed doors, kind of like that new neighbor that just moved in a few doors down. Take these athletes at face value and realize, they are not perfect and they will make mistakes, some greater than others. If parents want their children to strive to have the same work ethic, determination to succeed, athletic ability, toughness and love for the game, that is understandable. But again, it becomes a grey area where the line can be crossed when we start to look at these athletes as anything greater than an athlete.
Jones-Drew is one heck of an NFL player and that is where it should end, in terms of the public’s perception. Any other opinion would likely be invalid considering we don’t know him off the field. And unfortunately the type of behavior that is being reported to have taken place at the Conch House is not consistent with the actions of a so called role-model. Jones-Drew is simply a man that plays football for a living. He puts his pants on the same way the rest of us do. Now, his pants are probably three times more expensive than the common man, but he is human and he will make mistakes as we all do.
By the way, Superman wears a cape, not a helmet.