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From Bermuda to the Beach

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Don't know what you have until it's gone

Adam "Pacman" Jones, are you listening? I think most of us have had something we took for granted, and wished we had back. I can think of a hundred examples.

I wish I had my first bicycle back. I wouldn’t have left it on the sidewalk for someone to steal had I realized how much I was going to miss it. I wouldn’t have climbed to the top of an apple tree had I known I was going to break my arm when I fell out of it, and not be able to swim in my best friend’s brand new swimming pool all summer. I wish I hadn’t thrown that rock at my friend, hitting his dad’s brand new car. And I wish I had my $50 back from last Saturday night’s poker game.

But these are all pretty small compared to someone like Pacman’s rap sheet. Here’s a guy who makes millions of dollars playing a sport he grew up loving. At age 25, he’s made more money than most people will all their lives. Yet, he continually finds himself in the middle of something he shouldn’t be doing. For those of you who don’t know, Adam "Pacman" Jones is (was) the cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys football team. He was drafted in the third round by the Tennessee Titans, until they traded him for his off-field behavior and a one year suspension from the NFL, which, by the way, is the first time he has actually been disciplined by the sport in which he plays.

Here’s Pacman’s credentials: He attended Westlake High school and was selected as the conference Player of the Year following his senior year. He left Westlake with 120 tackles, six interceptions and 1,850 rushing yards. He also played in the Georgia-Florida all-star game. Jones earned All-American honors in basketball and track. His basketball team won two state championships.

Pacman went on to college at West Virginia, where he is ranked second on West Virginia’s school career kickoff return yardage list with 1,475 yards. He is also ranked eleventh on the school’s career punt return yardage list with 404 yards, while his 10.92 yards per punt return is the sixth most in school history. Jones is one of the highest drafted players ever from West Virginia. They must be proud!

Or not…

Here is his rap sheet: On July 13, 2005, he was arrested and charged with assault and felony vandalism after a nightclub altercation. In October 2005, the state of West Virginia filed a petition stating that Jones had not been contacting his probation officer and that he had not reported his July 2005 arrest. The judge extended the probation for just 90 days. On March 23, 2006, Pacman was charged with marijuana possession in Fayetteville, Georgia, later bragging to his friends that he knew how to beat the NFL’s drug test. On August 25, 2006, he was again arrested for disorderly conduct and public intoxication after being ordered by the cops to leave a night club several times. Jones claimed a woman stole his wallet. The woman claimed that Jones spat on her. On October 26, 2006, Jones was issued a citation for misdemeanor assault after a female student from Tennessee State claimed that Jones spit in her face at a night club (what’s with all the spitting?). On February 19, 2007, Jones was in the middle of a fight and shooting at a strip club in Las Vegas that left one man paralyzed and two more wounded. The fight broke out after Jones allegedly tipped strippers on stage with $81,000 dollars (not eighty-one dollars, not eight hundred and ten dollars, not eight thousand, one hundred dollars, that’s eighty-one thousand dollars). The club owner claims Jones was beating a stripper’s head against the bar (spitting just didn’t work the first couple of times). On January 3, 2008, Pacman is accused of punching a woman in the face at a strip club. The woman says Jones reached over the counter and sucker punched her in her left eye. Should have stuck to spitting, Pacman!

I wonder what Pacman would do if he was banned from the NFL forever. My guess, he would find himself in a penitentiary somewhere saying over and over to himself, "If I only knew then what I know now." Hmmm!

The Dallas Cowboys assigned a "bodyguard" for Pacman this year, but I doubt it was to protect Pacman from his fans. I’m sure it was to protect Pacman from himself. What did Pacman do with the bodyguard? He beat him up. Probably spit on him, too. And now, Pacman may have his opportunity to discover what he had, because now it’s gone, maybe. Roger Goodell, the league commissioner, suspended Pacman indefinitely, or for at least four games. To get paid millions of dollars to play football, there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to have that opportunity.

Ah well, October is my favorite month of the year; grab some couch and watch some pig skin. Or, there’s always next year Manny, and if that isn’t enough, I can always flip the channel over to Court TV and watch O.J. wriggle in his chair.

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Clint Nicholson Clint Nicholson Clint Nicholson is the sales manager for Keokee Publishing in Sandpoint. His former experience is with newspapers and automobiles.

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