Adam "Pacman" Jones, formerly with the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys, currently preparing for his third season with the Cincinnati Bengals, was recently ordered to pay $11 million in damages to two employees injured in a shooting that happened outside a Las Vegas strip club in 2007.
Though Jones is embarking on his sixth season in the NFL, his named is most often associated with criminal behavior rather than his play on the field. That said, this latest ruling seems to be a bit severe, and one has to wonder if Jones' hasn't be unfairly targeted.
In 2007 there was a shooting in a Las Vegas strip club that injured two employees, leaving one of them, club manager Tommy Urbanski, paralyzed from the waist down. Based on the $11 million Jones has been ordered to pay, one might assume the civil suit named him as the shooter. Not the case. The lone gunman, Arvin Kenti Edwards, is serving four to 10 years in prison for attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon for the incident. Though Edwards claimed he was doing Jones' bidding in the shooting, there has never been any evidence of this.
Jones has denied any role in the shooting and was never charged criminally in any way to indicate otherwise. He was considered at fault for inciting the fight that brought on the shooting, having thrown handfuls of dollar bills at the stage (also known as "making it rain"). Jones pled no contest to this charge of misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct.
So why did these injured employees choose to target Jones with their civil suit for millions of dollars? Why not the individual who pulled the trigger, who caused their injuries, the fellow who was found guilty for the crime?
If Jones were a construction worker, or someone with any other run of the mill vocation, he would not have been the target of this lawsuit. Though not the cause of the plaintiffs' injuries, he had some involvement in the situation, and given his highly publicized criminal record, in addition to his lucrative NFL career, he was as easy a target as fish in a bucket. Even Urbanski said by telephone on Friday, after the verdict, that this will send a message to athletes and celebrities that they can be held responsible for public "rampaging." So Jones is being handed an $11 million verdict for rampaging?
Is Adam Jones a role model? No way, he has obviously made some poor choices along the road. However this is a case where his name, rather than his actions, has been used against him. If John Smith, plumber, had been in the same situation, rather than Adam Jones, NFL player, there would be no potential $11 million verdict and this lawsuit never would have been filed.Player Profiles, nfl.com
Jamison Henlsey, "Jury Orders Adam 'Pacman' Jones to pay $11 million to shooting victims," espn.go.com
Lisa Stewart is a married mother of two living in the suburbs of Cincinnati. Lisa is a die-hard Bengals fan and has faith the team's best days are ahead. Lisa looks forward to some day seeing the Bengals finally win it all.
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