View Full Version : Kravitz: (Pacers) need a conviction

Frank Slade
10-12-2006, 10:05 AM
October 12, 2006
Bob Kravitz

If Jackson's found not guilty, team is left in a real bind

They need a conviction.

Not the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, although that would look good on Carl Brizzi's prosecutorial resume. No, the ones who really need Stephen Jackson to be convicted of the numerous charges leveled at him Wednesday are the Indiana Pacers -- team CEO Donnie Walsh and president Larry Bird, in particular -- thus doing for the organization what they should have done for themselves this summer.

If Jackson is convicted by a court of law -- as opposed to the court of public opinion, in which he has already been sentenced to death by lethal injection -- he's history. Suspended by the league, suspended by the Pacers, possibly gone to jail and likely gone from Indiana for good.

And if he's not convicted?

Great for Jackson.

But a nightmare for the Pacers.

At that point, the team, which has gone from model franchise to Trailpacers in just three strange and unfortunate years, will have another major mess on its hands.

It's this simple: They can't win back fans with Jackson on this roster.
At one point Tuesday, when it appeared Jackson might be painted as the victim and all of this might eventually blow over, I thought maybe this was salvageable.

Not anymore.

Even Jamaal Tinsley, apparently a bit player in the Club Rio scuffle, got booed Wednesday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Jackson has no chance at redemption here. He can eventually win in a court of law. He can't win in the court of public opinion.

If Jackson is ultimately exonerated, the Pacers will have no choice but to keep him on the roster. Sure, there's some vague language about moral turpitude and all of that in the basic player contract, but if a court of law finds him innocent, what case could the Pacers make for terminating his contract?

He stayed out past bedtime?

He hangs out with unsavory characters with film noir nicknames?

And how hypocritical would it be for the Pacers, the same ones who stuck by Ron Artest all those years, to suddenly find religion and cast out Jackson, a player they've long known to have self-control issues?

As long as Jackson is on this roster, a number of fans will never truly embrace this team. Is that right? Is that wrong? I tend to think it's slightly hysterical, and fails to give Jackson the opportunity to clear his name in a court of law, but I'm not the one paying big dollars for the season tickets.
While the facts of this case have changed pretty dramatically the last 48 hours, transforming Jackson from victim to serial bad guy, remember a few things before making a rush to judgment:

The prosecutor here, Brizzi, is in the middle of a re-election campaign, and if there's any Pacer who makes a perfect sacrificial lamb for a get-tough-on-crime guy, it's the almost universally lamentable Jackson.

And before we start shedding tears for "Fingers'' and "Dino'' -- the now-infamous Willford brothers who were involved in the incident -- please note that Quentin ("Fingers'') spent six years in prison for burglary, escape and dealing cocaine.

In situations like these, celebrity can be a double-edged sword.

The question has been asked why police didn't haul people into jail when the marijuana was found. Preferential treatment? Impossible to say. I've been told that in similar situations with regular Joes, police have acted in precisely the same way.

Now, though, you've got a prosecutor who, while he's doing his job, is also seizing a fabulous political opportunity. This may be one of those times when it's not a good thing being young, rich and famous. Or infamous.

"What's important is we treat everybody the same,'' Brizzi said Wednesday. "No matter their status, wealth or position.''

While all the focus has been on Jackson, it shouldn't be forgotten that Marquis Daniels, Tinsley and Jimmie "Snap'' Hunter played a role in this whole mess. They haven't been charged with anything, yet, but the police reported they found marijuana in Tinsley's car. Now, the Pacers don't have the power to say, "Fellas, let me introduce you to this little plastic cup,'' but the NBA has the power to follow up with random tests when a reasonable suspicion exists.

Even if one of Tinsley's friends is saying it's his pot -- and what are friends for, right? -- I would think the NBA would want to follow up by sending a drug-testing correspondent to town.

By now, you would have thought the noxious cloud that has covered this organization would have dissipated, if only a little. Wasn't Artest gone? Weren't Jackson and Tinsley swearing to be new men? Weren't the changes in the locker room supposed to alter the culture?

It's sad, really, how an organization once hailed as an NBA model has turned into a punch line. Walsh is a fundamentally good man whose greatest flaw is, he believes too much in people, leads with his heart, only to take it on the chin time and again.

"It's been heartbreaking, to be honest with you, because I always felt we had a good franchise and I was proud of that," Walsh said. "That's taken quite a hit in the last three years. Yeah, I feel very, very bad about that.''
Who could have imagined? After all those offseason changes, the most important Pacers addition is a middle-aged prosecutor with questionable hops.

IndyStar (http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061012/COLUMNISTS01/610120433/1088/SPORTS04)

10-12-2006, 06:56 PM
Yeah he was on PTI about this; didn't seem that opinionated as usual.
Doesn't mean I agree with him though. He still pisses me off with a lot of the things he writes.

10-12-2006, 08:55 PM
Is Kravitz schizophrenic?

10-12-2006, 10:04 PM
shiiit happens.

10-12-2006, 10:20 PM
I agree with every word.

10-12-2006, 10:25 PM
TrailPacers....That's great

10-12-2006, 10:46 PM
When I was in Indy the last day and a half for a seminar and the game, I heard another that sickened me....

The new slogan:


Even the people at Jillian's after the pretty entertaining game, a block from Conseco had nothing but negativity to say when we strolled in wearing our Pacers gear.....sad, sad state of Pacerdom right now.

10-12-2006, 11:32 PM
Even the people at Jillian's after the pretty entertaining game, a block from Conseco had nothing but negativity to say when we strolled in wearing our Pacers gear.....sad, sad state of Pacerdom right now.

I noticed similar (in regards to people's comments about the Pacers) at the Colts game Sunday.


10-13-2006, 02:18 AM
I noticed similar (in regards to people's comments about the Pacers) at the Colts game Sunday.


You could have brought up Jeff George, Eric Dickerson, or the many, many losing seasons in the '80s, but most Colts fans weren't fans then, so they probably wouldn't know what you're talking about.

10-13-2006, 02:48 AM
Is Kravitz schizophrenic?

No, but columnists are by definition.

10-13-2006, 03:57 AM
maybe the few people who still stand behind jackson will finally see the light ?

at this point id rather have artest then jackson...wait...did I just say that ?...yes i did.

10-13-2006, 09:28 AM
It's a very good point. If he is convicted, he can be cut without having to pay him. If he isn't, the team is stuck with him or at least stuck paying him and taking the cap hit for his salary until '10...la