In between the omnipresent Favre updates and scrolling soccer scores, the Entertainment and Sports Network managed to fit in some reporting last week.
Posted By: Max Ginsberg
The folks at ESPN produced an “Outside the Lines” segment titled,”Purple Drank.” (Thanks to Packer Update for posting a link to the video.)
The video features Johnny Jolly of the Green Bay Packers, who has been involved in a felony drug case for the past two years. Had ESPN actually re-enacted Jolly’s arrest, America’s Most Wanted and A Current Affair would probably have come knocking on the door with copyright infringement letters. Despite the cheesiness (no pun intended) of the video report, I must say that the network did a decent job of providing a little background to Jolly’s life growing up in the 5th ward of Houston (Well, as much background info as you can fit into a 6-minute segment).
As I watched the video, I couldn’t help but think that the Jolly Rancher is a product of his circumstances. Jolly doesn’t seem to get into any trouble during the season, and yet when the young man returns to his native Texas, the problems arise. I’m not trying to provide excuses, but I can certainly relate to making some bad decisions when I go home and reunite with the friends I grew up with. By no means am I comparing my upbringing to Jolly’s; however, I am illustrating the point that people do stupid things when they are growing up and sometimes it’s easier to fall back into those traditional roles that your friends, purposefully or not, place on you.
Having said that, I wonder how this latest chapter of Johnny Jolly’s story ends? If convicted, the fifth-year defensive end out of Texas A&M is facing two to twenty years in prison. I’m sure he has a good attorney; he did just sign his tender to make $2.521 million this year. But how does the commissioner of the NFL respond when one of his employees is featured on ESPN, not for a sack or a blocked kick, but for drug usage? If Jolly is convicted and goes to jail, he probably never plays football again anyway. If he is not convicted, does Goodell still take action? After hearing the case that prosecutors will make against Jolly, Goodell might not have much choice but to suspend him.
Jolly is scheduled to appear in court on July 30th, which happens to be the first day players must report for training camp. Packers‘ coach Mike McCarthy has publicly expressed that he is “concerned for Johnny Jolly personally,” and that “we’ll just continue to support Johnny the best we can.” However, the Packers’ executives have prepared for the worst. The Packers spent two of their seven picks in the 2010 draft on defensive ends. Normally, drafting two defensive lineman wouldn’t be newsworthy for a player of Jolly’s caliber, but if you’re winding your way through the legal system, I think you take notice.
Publicly, the Packers may be saying all the right things, but the implicit message to Johnny Jolly is not a good one. If Jolly finds a way to escape this legal entanglement, the Packers will gladly take him back. If Jolly finds himself behind steel bars, the Packers play the “it’s a business” angle and cut ties with him completely. This may wrap up on July 30th and it may drag out for another season. Until then, there will be many eyes watching the Jolly Rancher and his behavior with a close, scrutinizing eye.
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