Justin Blackmon makes me sick.
He makes me want to quit watching sports. He’s the embodiment of what’s wrong with big-time sports.
He’s arrogant. He’s selfish. He’s untrustworthy. He’s unappreciative. He’s disrespectable.
The more he’s given, the more he takes.
The more he’s forgiven, the more he takes everyone and everything for granted.
Am I overreacting to the Jaguars’ second-year wide receiver being suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy? Maybe. Probably.
But how much of the Justin Blackmons of the sports world can we take?
He’s a wonderfully talented football player. He has been richly rewarded for his hard work and skills.
But as sure as there’s a new year, there’s Blackmon spitting in our faces – the faces of his bosses, his teammates, his team’s fans – by doing something that’s stupid and wrong.
Bet on it, he’ll spit in our faces again.
Of course there are his bleeding-heart supporters who stupidly say he deserves a second chance. Stupidly? Yes, because he’s already had a second chance. And a third chance. Truth be known, he’s probably been forgiven for missteps we never heard about.
Still others say he needs our support because he’s sick, addicted to alcohol and perhaps other mind-altering substances. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. If he is sick, he does need help, but that doesn’t mean his rehab should negatively impact the lives of so many other people.
It should come as no surprise that Blackmon is a cancer. I’ve discovered in more than five decades of covering sports that seldom are coaches, general managers, owners, athletic directors and teammates truly surprised when players cause off-the-field problems. If you recruit or draft someone with serious flaws in character and behavior, what else can you expect? Sadly, few “bad actors” in sports clean up their act until their playing days are over.
There is a touch of irony in the Blackmon story. He was drafted 5th overall in 2012 by former Jaguars general manager Gene Smith. Smith was known – and criticized – for drafting too much on good character and not enough on talent. So why’d he ignore the red flags Blackmon raised at Oklahoma State?
Maybe it was because Smith knew his days were numbered with Jaguars. Maybe he felt to keep his job he had to gamble on Blackmon’s talent and ignore his character flaws. Makes me sick to think about it.
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