New Jack Pity
Mike Wells parlayed Stephen Jackson's game-winner against Golden State into an off-day article that boosts Jack's image, explaining his efforts to handle his emotions. It even manages to extract a little pity for Jack with stories of idiots around town harassing him off the court. The story can be read here.
"You can really see a difference in him so far," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said. "What happened earlier is unfortunate, but he's managed to play through it. He's not letting what has happened away from the basketball court affect what he's doing on the court. He's really working at it."It is nice to see Jack is working hard to do right by the Pacers. As I mentioned in this post just after the Club Rio mess, I'm not really interested in words or intentions, I'll stick to judging actions. Using that criteria I have to give Jack a thumbs up so far. He hasn't shot well but he's played the game well. He plays his role in the offense, gives effort on defense, supports his teammates, and stays away from bickering with the referees.
The cynic will say he's stuck waiting for a couple of court dates so he has to behave well. Once he's done in court the "real" Jack will return. It only takes one bad decision and about five seconds to do something wild that wipes out months of good work and good will with the community. Why waste time rooting for Jack to fly straight when you know he'll eventually let you down?
I completely understand that type of thinking, but pulling for Jack is no waste of time. I'm a big fan of redemption no matter how long the odds. I love the NBA and enjoy following the Pacers, so that includes pulling for Jack to do well on the court and off. It is a day-by-day situation and I'll be disappointed if Jack snaps does something stupid, but at this point I wouldn't be shocked. It is still early in the process and plenty of nuts and "tough guys" have no problem playing the fool to provoke a star athlete.
So please, just leave the man alone and let him go about his business. The final quote in the article caused a little concern:
"A lot of people have tried to break me and they still are to this day. . . . They can't break me as long as they don't touch me physically."I can see Joe Sixpack reading that last line and deciding to raise the ante and go for a big payday by coaxing Jack into a physical confrontation. Hopefully, Jack will keep some "friends" around when he goes out in public for awhile or at least until he's proven the cynics wrong.