The tragedy of Jon Jones: Why athletes are not suitable role models
We build people up to tear them down.
We love a hero, but almost love seeing said hero fail even more.
With our nation at a crossroads like its never experienced before, we turn to other things for comfort, entertainment and happiness to escape our disappointment and anger regarding current events.
Sports is one of those entities.
But yet, disappointment and anger are still prevalent in our pastimes.
What the heck am I talking about?
This just a fancy way of saying how disappointed, angry, confused and hurt I (and millions of fans) feel toward (now former?!) UFC star Jon Jones.
Now, first, yes, everyone is entitled to due process and a fair and impartible court of public opinion (like that will happen). Jones will have his 'day in court', to get all the details and whatnot out in the open.
I am not saying he is 'signed, sealed and delivered' guilty on this matter.
Jones has strongly denied any wrong doing and even took to Twitter on Thursday to again say, basically, I would never take steroids.
But, with Jones' past year-ban for failed drug tests coupled with this recent turn of events, this does not look good, at all -- at all.
After his first post-UFC 214 drug test came back positive for steroids, Jones' camp immediately put the emphasis on his 'B sample', also taken after the main event on July 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Then more bad news this week: Jones 'B sample' was also flagged for a positive hit on a banned substance.
By midway on Wednesday, Jones' TKO over Daniel Cormier was overturned to a no-decision by the California State Athletic Commission.
By the end of the day, Cormier regained his UFC light heavyweight belt.
Just. Like. That.
And this brings me to a point I can't shake -- athletes are not, and should not be, role models. And it's not their fault.
Athletes are people and people are flawed. People make mistakes. People cheat. People lie. People do terrible things to others. People disappoint us.
Jon Jones was (and likely still is) a role model to many, admired my many more for 'turning his life around.'
But Jones is flawed. Seriously flawed.
A big part of the reason for my disappointment is owing Jones for making me into a UFC fan. (PS: Thank you Jon).
Prior to covering UFC 199 at the Forum last summer, I didn't pay UFC much mind in my personal life. My motto: 'Guys beating the sh#t out of each other does nothing for me.'
Then I went to UFC 199 and EVERYTHING changed, in part thanks to Michael Bisping as well. The passion and energy of the crowd is UNMATCHED in sports.
I've covered Super Bowls and national championships and big sporting events throughout my career.
None of them can touch the energy of UFC.
My excitement to then cover UFC 214 was rewarded with an absolute blast of a main event, ended by the most epic head kick you'll ever see.
Then, after Jones' emotional postfight press conference, it was then I became a fan. Here's a guy whose made mistakes (haven't we all) but he turned his life around to prove he's one of the best fighters in the world.
He poured his heart and soul out in the middle of the Octagon.
Now what Jon!?!
It's hard to know who to believe. You want to, you NEED to believe Jones if you are a fan of his. But the evidence is not stacked in his favor.
One failed drug test the subject of tampering? Sure, I can believe that there are people out there who would go to extremes to make Jones' life miserable.
But two failed samples?
It doesn't look good. And who knows when we will know the final verdict ... if Jones will in fact be banned for upwards of four years, basically ending his UFC career while in the prime of his career.
On the flip side, do a lot of athletes do good? YES, of course they do, just look at JJ Watt and the $30-plus MILLION he's raised for the Houston recovery efforts.
But, if Watt were to say, get a DUI tomorrow, would the public's perception of him change? Yes, in a heartbeat.
Jon Jones faces a long, dark road ahead with tough decisions to make for the future of himself and his family.
And, the fact it could have been avoided makes it all that much more disappointing.
I hope you can find peace, Jon.