The Washington Post

Justin Blackmon, another WR off to a bad start

Wide receiver Justin Blackmon catches a pass during the 2012 NFL Combine Feb. 26, 2012 in Indianapolis. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, has not played a single game in the NFL, yet he’s already making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Why does it seem that a player has to be a trouble maker or get into some serious difficulties to be a mega-star, especially at wide receiver? For starters, we have Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and--I hate to include him--Plaxico Burress.

I’m guessing Blackmon figured:Why wait? Let’s get this part of the NFL experience out of the way now.

Honestly, I hope this young man understands how great an opportunity he has to make the type of living that will be his once he begins his career, and the number of people’s lives he can touch with his abilities.

It amazes me that guys can be so careless and irresponsible when they have so many reasons to steer clear from situations such as being so drunk that they are arrested and thrown in jail.

The arrest raises questions about Blackmons’ common sense. It raises the question of whether he should have been drafted so high. Should he be punished, and if so, for how long?

It seems like the media and fans alike are enamored of players who have so much talent but lack the ability to stay out of trouble. I really don’t know why this is. Perhaps it’s because it creates must-see reality.

Will this be a feel good story like Ray Lewis’s? He overcame a tragic situation to become one of the greatest and most famous football players of all time. Or will he be the next Lawerence Phillips, who had the physical gifts to be one of the best running backs ever, but ultimately could not shake the demons in his personal life?

The bad endings carve out their own special places in our memories. We remember tragic stories and the names associated with them.

Unfortunately, the reality here is that these stories have many more tragic endings than glorious triumphs. Following players like this provides the same kind of rush that comes from gambling, wondering, for a few anxious moments, how it will turn out, whether he will win or lose. Only it goes on for months, sometimes years.

Justin, I hope yours will be one of the happier endings.



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