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Ricky and the Pac-Man- A Match Made in Heaven

By Gregg Hayim

First things first, you have to respect the gamesmanship Commissioner Roger Goodell displayed in regards to this latest chapter of the Pac-Man saga. It turns out that by the time the pair sat down for their face-to-face conduct meeting in early April, the Commissioner was already well aware of Jones’s late-night visit to a New York Gentleman’s club just a few hours earlier. The clubs staff notified NFL security of Pac-Man’s visit and it wasn’t long before word got back to the Commissioner’s office. Yet instead of accusing the oft-troubled Titan, Goodell set a series of traps. Strategically he positioned his pawns with a series of questions asking Pac-Man how he planned on altering his lifestyle. The changes he would make, the company he would keep and so forth. Jones went through his undoubtedly rehearsed choir-boy act just as the Commissioner was positioning his rook. Did the plan include a self-imposed ban of strip-clubs? Goodell quizzed.  Jones replied yes- as a matter of fact it did.

The savvy Commissioner then introduced his queen, asking when exactly the last time he visited a strip club was. Jones reportedly sensed the lure and fidgeted for a bit before begrudgingly replying with “a day ago�.

A week later the Commissioner handed down the one year suspension….Check-Mate.

Why Pac-Man couldn’t have stuck around his hotel room, ponied up the $9.99 for a Spank-tra-vision double feature-just like the rest of us- and called it a night is beyond me. What I do know is that if he had, he may have saved himself a boat load of cash and one very awkward breakfast with the Commissioner.

So much for honesty being the best policy.

And then there is Ricky. Oh Ricky Ricky Ricky, not again!
Chris Mortensen reported earlier today that Miami Dolphins Running Back Ricky Williams has tested positive, yet again, for marijuana. Williams, a league substance abuse policy Hall of Famer, was to be eligible for reinstatement this month. However, in lieu of the positive test, the date for his possible return has been pushed back to September.

A medical advisor close to the situation was stated as saying that “he’s[Williams] been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder — that’s a real disease and a good percentage of those folks self-medicate with substances like marijuana, often at the moment they are about to have a high level of social interaction.” Interesting point Doc, but how many of those folks are paid millions of dollars to play a game that strictly forbids them from doing so? Better yet, how many of those people lose out on millions from their inability to refrain from passing around the peace pipe?

I’m sure this expert is far more knowledgeable than I when it comes to social anxiety disorder, but I am relatively certain that there are prescription meds out there that address this sort of thing. If Doctor Doolittle wanted to be of real service to Ricky he would advise his client to toss out the bong and then write him a prescription for Prozac. Problem solved. 

And then there is Michael Vick.

Drafted out of Virginia Tech, the fleet footed Hokie was billed as the man that would change the quarterback position forever; the rare talent that could beat you just as easily with the legs as he could the arm. The Falcons wasted no time taking him #1 overall and making him the face of their franchise. EA Sports and the NFL followed suit and in just his first season as a starter he looked to be as good-if not better- than advertised; leading the Falcons to the NFC Divisional game and emerging as an MVP candidate.

Yet here we are five years later and the first thing that comes to mind when you think Michael Vick is his poor decision making off-the-field. The residue found in the airport, the illegal dog fighting investigation, flipping off his own fans and so on.  And all of this is merely the work of Michael Vick; we haven’t even talked about Ron Mexico, Vick’s alter ego, who reportedly passes around STD’s as if they were olives at a martini party.
All three of these men were blessed with extraordinary talents far superior to mortal men, and they have been handed millions of dollars to showcase these abilities to boot. Perhaps it was all the coddling and ego-stroking, conceivably it may even be their inherent mental make-up. Regardless, the source is negligent as my point is that at some point in their journey they developed a sense of invincibility; a feeling that regardless of what they do or how they act,  someone, somewhere will be waiting with a checkbook- willing to overlook their sins and seeing to it that they emerge unscathed. 

The truth is they are the lucky ones. Not all ego driven athletes get second chances- let alone fourth, fifth, or sixths. For some, the ego-bug bites before they have a chance to make it to the bank. Ask Maurice Clarett, he’ll tell you all about it.
A lot has been made, on this site in particular, about the direction that the Mangini/Tannenbaum combo has this team headed.  Some love the decision making, some question it and still others, I suspect, are excited merely at the presence of what seems to be an actual plan. For a long time Jet fans felt like Dolphin fans do right now- lost. (I don’t care how many times I write variation of this same point; it makes me smile every time) Regardless of your stance toward the team’s direction, one point that cannot be disputed is that the Jet brain-trust has placed a premium on character. And when I look around the league and see the likes of Pac-Man, Ricky and Ron Mexico- men seemingly incapable of avoiding trouble- I’m glad that they have.

Check out my daily blogs at www.NFLDraftbible.com

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