I normally don't post unless a topic arises that I feel strongly about one way or another. So in the wake of the Cowboys' release of Adam "Pacman" Jones, I will say these two things.
This is undoubtedly the right move for the Dallas Cowboys at this time.
But at the same time, I sympathize with, and understand Adam, because for a long time I was, and still am to a certain extent Pacman Jones.
I will spare you my life story, but I have to give a little perspective in order to illustrate my point. When you grow up like I did, and I am presuming Pacman did, all you have to hang your hat on is respect. Now in most of the free world, respect is given to an upstanding citizen, who takes care of his business, as it should. But in the world Pacman and I are from, respect is garnered almost exclusively through violence, and just being the wildest individual in the neighborhood. It's a right of passage. It's not right, but it's the way it is.
To get a full grasp of this, put yourself in Pacman's shoes. Through all your tough times, and limited opportunities, you have somehow managed to do the unthinkable and make it to college. You are playing big-time football, doing good for yourself. You come home to visit and find envy and resentment from your peers, to the extent that they may want to do you harm. Everyone thinks you have deserted them, and are insanely jealous because they can't stand to see you succeed while they fail. Even your own friends don't care about how many passes you picked off, or that punt return TD you had. All they want to know is "Are you still down." And let me tell you, telling them "yeah, of course" Is not going to passify them, they want you to prove it.
Same thing when you reach the NFL, they just want to know if you are still down, if you are still Pacman. Only now they know you have a lot of money, and they expect you to take care of them. A lot of these people have even started conflicts, just so they can handle them for you, so that they can show you that they are essential to your life. And I dont care what you say, it is hard to turn your back on people you have depended on your entire life.
If you make it to the NFL out of Odessa, Texas, they will put up a billboard for you. If you make it to the NFL out of the ghetto, they put a price on your head, and your family puts their hands out. You can't win even when you win.
What Pacman has to realize is that he cannot change who he is. Once the hood is in you, it's in you for life. I have not changed who I am, but I changed my environment. An alcoholic can't get clean hanging out in a bar. What Pacman has got to do is take his baby and his girlfriend, and go out in the country, or to the suburbs or something, he's got to change his surroundings. I moved outside of town, and I don't go out anymore, I work out and sit up on the computer arguing with angry Cowboy fans. ( that's a joke by the way). Yeah, my street cred has diminished a bit, but I would rather watch my kids grow up.
It feels odd to say this because I'm only about a year older than Pacman, but he just hasn't gotten to the point that I have reached in life. I spent my whole life trying to prove myself with violence. I didnt decide to make a change until I was sitting in prison, watching my first child grow up through the mail. Later I realized, that the people I was trying so hard to impress, (the ones who are still alive and walking the streets) are still standing on the same corner they've been standing on since 1996. I couldnt change who I was, because I had been that person for 21 years at the time, and it really wasn't safe to change if I ever wanted to go home to visit. I decided to change where I was. Pacman has got to realize that he can't continue to cater to these people.
Let's not kick the man when he's down, let's pray for him. I dont call Pacman names like a lot of other people do. I don't condemn him, or have a "good riddance" attitude towards him. He can only blame himself, but I understand the dude's dilemma and I hope he has his moment of clarity.