Drawing Conclusions and Comparisons

There has been an inordinate amount of disdain displayed for Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones, who was arrested early Thursday morning for felony possession of cocaine. It is understandable to me that Jaguars fans are angered by Jones actions, but what I've heard over the last 12 hours is borderline inhumane.

Jaguars fans appear to be legitimately happy that Jones was arrested, and will likely be even happier when his release is made official. Today I've heard Jones called several different names that I can't and won't repeat, and I've never witnessed so much pleasure taken by strangers out of one man's mistake. I'm hardly a Matt Jones apologist. Here's some evidence of that from online debate a few months ago: http://jac.scout.com/2/756549.html

That said, I don't think any Jaguars fans should feel any bliss from Jones' arrest.

I completely understand that on-field production determines exactly how much of a "leash" players can be on, and how many chances they get. Before we all throw any more stones Matt Jones' way, let's not forget the similar situation of another Jaguars wide receiver not that many years ago. When Jimmy Smith went through a similar incident involving the same drug, the reaction by Jaguars fans was significantly different.

Sure, Jimmy Smith wasn't a first-round bust who was in the process of playing his way out of the league, he was the team's all-time leading receiver. There were some extremists calling for the team to release Smith, but many more fans were talking about getting there beloved #82 help for his "disease." It's early, and people are going by their initial emotional reactions, but I haven't heard much of any sympathy or compassion for Matt Jones' similar situation. No cries to get him help, just loathsome delectation.

I have to admit, I don't know Matt Jones that well. I interviewed him a few times, and he wasn't all that personable. He didn't seem like a bad guy, just someone that wasn't all that interested in talking to the media. If it were my call, I would've released or tried to trade Jones around the time of April's draft, mainly because of his play on the football field. Still, I feel bad for him.

I'm not sure why so many Jacksonville fans have this utter contempt for Jones. Did he give 100% every time he stepped on the football field? No. Was he a great first-round pick? No, he's turning into a bust. That said, he hasn't said or done anything negative in the Jacksonville community. He's helped the team win a few games, and he hasn't been a distraction up to this point in the Jaguars locker room.

Jaguars fans, you don't have to look to me for your direction as to what players to like or dislike. It's obvious that the vast majority of fans want Matt Jones gone, and that will likely happen sooner rather than later. For what it's worth, I agree that he should be let go. Still, there's no reason to take joy in what happened to the former first-round pick.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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