By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
For everything that has been great over the past few days on the First Coast and the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars are now left with a serious dilemma. The situation with Justin Blackmon is far more reaching than just missing four games to start the 2013 season. It is about a man who must face his responsibilities and a team that must decide how it will move forward with this potential powder keg.
This is not the publicity that Jaguars team owner Shad Khan and general manager David Caldwell wanted on the heels of one of the more successful drafts in recent history. Life, however, does not stand still because a sports franchise may or may not have caught lightning in a bottle. This is the third strike against Blackmon, dating back to his days in a Oklahoma State uniform and in a little under three years.
This is a situation where the Jaguars must sit back and evaluate what is taking place, how the NFL has proceeded with punishment and how the community will now accept one of the team’s necessary cogs in its offense.
In a statement by the NFL, “Justin Blackmon of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been suspended without pay for the team’s first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Blackmon will be eligible to return to the Jaguars’ active roster on Monday, September 30 following the team’s September 29 game against the Indianapolis Colts.”
The statement went on to say that while he can not lace up his cleats for those games, Blackmon can participate in all preseason practices and games.
Because of its nature and the fact the announcement was made late in the afternoon, amid the announcement on Monday that local hero Tim Tebow had been released by the New York Jets and was a free agent and the sports world still dealing with the announcement by NBA center Jason Collins that he is in fact gay, The Jaguars brass reacted to the situation, which quickly became headline news.
According to Caldwell, the team will deal with this matter like any other within the organization.
“Coach Bradley and I have spoken with Justin, and he is well aware of our disappointment. I don’t think there is any question that Justin is embarrassed and remorseful, and Coach Bradley and I are both confident he understands the obligations ahead of him, to himself, the franchise and the fans. We will support him throughout the process and continue to work to educate him and all of our players on making the right decisions. The Jaguars have made a lot of progress over the past three months, and we will not allow this news to slow us down.”
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