Blackmon’s second substance abuse infraction raises question
You would think that Justin Blackmon, wide receiver for the Jaguars, would have learned his lesson by now, but after two violations of the NFL’s drug policy, he will be suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season and may even take a cut in his current contract. Blackmon will not be allowed to play or practice during those four weeks, and he will not be paid during that time.
Blackmon has had a history with drug related issues, namely alcohol. He has been arrested for DUIs multiple times and this substance abuse violation marks his third issue involving either police or the NFL’s disciplinary arm in less than three years.
GM Dave Caldwell, who traded up for the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Blackmon, voiced his frustration with the wide receiver in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
“It’s very disappointing,” Caldwell said. “We understand that this isn’t all going to be an upward trend and we’re going to have setbacks. To be honest with you, things like this are frustrating because it’s an avoidable situation. That’s what’s real concerning and frustrating. At the end of the day, we’re going to have 53 players on our team on opening day and we’re just moving forward and we’re not slowing down.”
Blackmon’s series of infractions landed him in the NFL’s substance abuse program, but it seems to have had no effect as he continues to violate the league policy. To his credit Blackmon does take full responsibility, but will it ever lead to a change?
“I’ve made a mistake and I have no excuse,” Blackmon said in a statement. “I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for putting the Jaguars in this situation, and I look forward to putting this behind me and maturing and growing as a person. I will have a productive training camp and preseason with my team, and during the suspension, I will work hard to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the Jaguars when I return.”
Blackmon is not the only player to make the news for substance abuse. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is suspended with a similar sentence, drawing out questions as to the effectiveness of the NFL drug policy. The policy is based on a series of levels, which get more serious in punishment and less clearly defined as repeat offenses increase. You can’t completely blame the policy as all of these players are adults and should know what is smart and safe behavior. In the case of men like Blackmon and Washington, they chose to make mistakes and if they want to keep playing, they will need to clean up their acts.