Good news. All Blackmon all the time appears to be fading, mercifully.
We'll spend a good amount of time on Blackmon today, and of course, dip into Fred Taylor being inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. Then, judging by the tone of the in-box, we'll have a chance to move to topics other than Blackmon in the coming days. We've dipped far enough into psychology and analysis and who's to blame. That's all fine, but it's time to pull back into football talk and normalcy.
And by normalcy, I of course mean Blaine Gabbert, Bryan Anger and Tim Tebow. I can't wait.
Let's get to it . . .
Miguel from Section 145 @ The Bank, Jacksonville:
Is there ever enough we can say about Fred Taylor? His accomplishments on and off the field, his humble grateful personality, where he came from, what he's been through, the role he appears to be transitioning into with the Jaguars organization.... Am I the only one who thinks of Fred as a good friend who was visiting for awhile and now appears to be moving in down the street, as he said "Forever?" How cool is that?!!!
John: That's a good way to put it. Careers must end, so no player plays forever. But players such as Taylor do live on in a way in memories. The Jaguars have been very fortunate to have two players – Taylor and Tony Boselli – who are no-brainer entrants into the Pride of the Jaguars and who are still intimately associated with the franchise. Not every day in this profession is an absolute joy, as evidenced by the events of early this week, but getting to write about Fred Taylor being honored? That's pleasant, memorable stuff.
Chris from Duval, FL:
Do you think the Jaguars will look to other teams' cuts for some depth signings? How about Ochocinco? I mean, he has to provide more of a threat than the fourth or fifth receiver on the Jags' current roster, right?
John: I'm looking in your email for the sarcastic font. Looking . . . looking . . .
Matthew from Tallahassee, FL:
Have you gotten any serious e-mails saying we should pick up TO because he got released from the Indoor Football League?
John: More than is reasonable. Not enough to be overly concerned.
Mark from St. Augustine, FL:
John, do you ever feel like you are underappreciated? We're a tough lot to deal with some times.
John: You learn early in this business you're never going to please 100 percent of the readers all of the time. People complain. People compare. Most importantly, people read. As I say often, people who do all those things care, and as a writer, that's all you can ask. I'm not sure I know a writer who is universally popular. I do the best job I can every day within the parameters of what I am allowed to do. Many people like it. Some people don't. If you don't understand that in my business, you're in trouble.
Matt from Rockville, MD:
Do we know when Fred is getting inducted? My dad lives down that way in Georgia (just barely over the state line) and I want to be there. I'm already coming down in November for the Sunday, then Thursday games. I want to come down for a third and if it can be when HE is inducted, I will be so thrilled.
John: He will be inducted at the September 30 game at EverBank Field against Cincinnati.
Todd from Beaufort, SC:
Blackmon admitted to the officer he had been drinking after he was pulled over, took a breath test, posted a .24 (above the legal limit) and was arrested. How in the WORLD can he plead NOT GUILTY? Wouldn't it be better to just admit to the mistake and move on than to act like he didn't do it?
John: You plead that way because your attorneys advise you to do so. I'm not a lawyer, and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so that's about all I'll say about that.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
With all of the repetitive questions from fans, what would you like to talk about today John?
John: Clouds, meadows and fresh clover.
CD from Orange Park, FL:
In response to Fred from Waycross's question and your response as far as wanting an apology: As a Jags fan and season-ticket holder, it's completely reasonable to want an apology, and I don't think self-righteousness is involved in any way. When he embarrasses himself, he embarrasses the organization and its fans as well. I've made mistakes, and I've apologized to anyone I hurt because of them. And in addition to that, I worked to make amends if necessary. That's what Justin has done and has said he will do. I don't see that as a bad thing. Did your comments imply a belief he didn't need to apologize?
John: Fred asked why people feel the need to expect an apology. I answered that in our society, fans felt that need because they have come to expect it and because there are a lot of self-righteous people who believe celebrities and public figures owe an apology for mistakes. I had no problem with Blackmon apologizing, and in the world we live in, it was probably necessary to avoid a bunch of criticism he didn't need, but I also think we've gone a bit overboard these days of expecting public apologies.
Kevin from Section 122:
I'm extremely angry and disappointed... I spilled coffee on myself and I feel like I caught every light on the way to work. My question? When is Gene Smith going to own up for my bad day? I mean, he really didn't do his due diligence otherwise I wouldn't have a coffee stain on my slacks.
John: Maybe you'd feel better if he apologized.
Jon from Jacksonville:
Given the nature of draft order, worst first and best last, do you think it would be in the league's best interest to disallow trading of draft picks? You order the draft the way you do for a reason. It is to help provide parity and strong competition amongst the teams. So, you should stick to that goal and prevent some of the big "mortgage your future" type mistakes we see every year.
John: Teams have the right to make their own mistakes. That's part of what separates the good teams from the bad. Trading also provides for great television, and we all know how the league feels about rating$.
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
It's easy to be mad at Justin Blackmon. Just like it's easy to forget the stupid things we did when we were 21 years old. I remember a time when I was in the Navy at a party with friends. I'd had a few drinks, so my judgment to put it mildly was less than it should have been. Someone lit a joint and passed it around. I didn't think about everything I could be throwing away if I failed a drug test. I didn't think about anything at all. I hit on the joint. I didn't get called in for a urinalysis. I continued on in my Navy career, made rank and now I have a pension. Still, I messed up big time. It's what 20 and 21 year olds do. I just got lucky. Blackmon messed up too. My judgment improved over the years. Let's give Justin a chance for his to improve too.
John: You have been heard.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Season-ticket holder for 17 years. As a fan we heard the "Coachspeak" from Del Rio and got pumped up only to be let down by the actual product on the field. How does Mularkey seem different to you than Del Rio? Do you feel the players will respond better to his coaching style?
John: I haven't heard Mularkey get too caught up in Coachspeak, and he's not given to a lot of hyperbole. I like that. Though some might see it as boring, I believe players like a coach who lays out expectations and provides a plan for success, then asks them to meet expectations and adhere to the plan. So far, I think the players have responded.
Jason from Section 231:
Are you familiar with Koehlberg's theory of moral development? I'm not an expert, and don't pretend that I can read people's thoughts or actions. But watching Blackmon's press conference, I got the feeling Gene and Mike were more upset about the events than Justin. Yes, Blackmon appeared to be "in the dumps," but appeared to be in that state not because he realizes the gravity of what he did wrong, but because he realizes that what he did will cause him to be punished.
John: I'd hate to have read your email if you did pretend that you could read people's thoughts or actions. This is a good way to end today's O-Zone, because this is about as far as we need to go with the whole thread of trying to analyzed and judge Blackmon based on the events of last weekend. He did what he did. He has said what he is going to say. Now, what matters is how he reacts to it. The reason I'm not going any further down the road of analyzing and trying to deduce what he's feeling and thinking is that one thing I've learned being a reporter is it's just very dangerous to try to read people based on how they answer at press conferences or how they appear in public, pressurized situations. I have dealt with many athletes that if you just judged them based on how they behave in front of the camera you would have thought they were the biggest jerks in the world when in fact they just weren't comfortable. I don't pretend to know whether or not Blackmon realizes the gravity of what he's done, but I sure don't think I know based on Wednesday's press conference. That setting is often an inaccurate measure of a person.