Here’s my bulletin for the day
People don’t change.
Doesn’t sound like much of a shocker, does it? Yet it never fails to amaze me how teams, their executives and fans, in general, never seem to fully grasp that theory.
In my more than 40 years as a sports writer, I saw it happen over and over and over again. Athletes who are jerks make dumb mistakes, hurting both themselves, their families and their employers.
Yet, because they’re talented, because their skill tends to blot out their shortcomings, someone always comes along thinking they can rehabilitate them.
Well, guess what? It rarely works.
That’s why today’s news once again is littered with sordid headlines. Ben Rothlisberger, Lawrence Taylor, Milton Bradley. Should it really surprise anybody that these guys are in trouble again (although at least in Bradley’s case, he’s finally decided to seek help)?
The best example yet, though, arrived today. The Cincinnati Bengals have announced they’ve signed Pacman Jones to a new two-year contract.
Yes, this is the same Pacman who was suspended the entire 2007 season and six games into 2008 with the Cowboys for violating the NFL’s conduct policy. The same guy who was involved in a violent shoot-’em-up at a not-so-friendly neighborhood strip club.
And these are the Bengals, remember. The football team that used to feature a rap sheet that seemed to stretch longer than a football field. Every time you looked up, one of their players was getting pulled off to jail.
For a while, it appeared their primary goal was to clean up their act. Well, so much for that strategy, huh?
Don’t get me wrong. Pacman can play. He has the potential to be a great cornerback. But he has even more potential to be a guy whose off-field problems can create yet another major distraction.
You wonder why, if the Bengals are serious, they’re stopping at Pacman. Why not trade for Big Ben? Or ask LT if he’s ever thought about making a comeback?
It’s crazy, but take my word for it. This kind of stuff happens all the time.
Misguided sports franchises are a lot like the aforementioned people.
They don’t seem to change much, either.
— Steve Bisheff