Sunday, January 6, 2008

Marion Jones

Later this week, fallen Olympic track star, Marion Jones, will be sentenced for providing false statements to federal agents about her illegal steroid use and involvement in a check-fraud scheme.

Jones fall from grace truly saddens me. During both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, Marion Jones was positioned as a dynamic role model for young girls everywhere, but beyond the spotlight; Jones has time and again demonstrated poor judgment when navigating her personal life.

Her first husband, shot-putter C.J. Hunter, was suspended from competition when he tested positive for steroid use during the 2000 Olympics and Marion response was to deny any knowledge of this while trying to focus solely on her own Olympic events. At the time, I admired her ability to compartmentalize her emotions and concentrate on the job at hand---- winning the race, but now I wonder if she was maybe more afraid Hunter’s predicament was hitting a little too close to home. Following these games, there was no “standing my your man” for Jones, she left C.J. out in the cold, divorced the brother and moved on with her life.

The check-fraud scheme stems from Marion’s involvement with her first baby’s daddy, Tim Montgomery. Earlier this year, Montgomery pleaded guilty to taking part of a multi-million dollar bank fraud and check-laundering scheme. At first, Jones feigned any knowledge of these activities, but has since admitted to receiving proceeds from this plot. She endorsed a few of these checks and deposited them into her own accounts.

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about all of this steroid business. It would be great if today’s athletes could do the hoodoo that they do without juicing up, but they don’t live in a vacuum and fans are always screaming for them to be bigger and badder. The level of play and their game/race schedules are grueling. Do we really believe their bodies can recover and respond at peak performance day after day, without some type of synthetic boost? Let’s be real.

In October when Marion tearfully went before the court in White Plains, NY, and admitted her crimes, she pleaded for leniency in sentencing. She’s been forced to return her five Olympic medals, retired from racing and is now facing at least six months in prison. In fact, the judge is considering extending the maximum sentencing guidelines for Jones’ crimes.

I do think Marion’s fall from grace and the return of her medals warrant enough suffering for the doping charge, but I’m having a bit more difficulty in rationalizing the bank and check fraud crime. Jones’ has more talent and potential than most, and lying to her family, teammates and fans is disheartening, so now instead of being remembered for her superior speed on the track field, she’ll go down as just another cautionary tale of falling for the okeydoke, instead of putting in the hard work and doing your absolute best.


Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Mango Mama,

(First I have to tell you that Track is the only sport that I truly love.)

There is no point in me trying to cover-up the fact that I fell for Marion's lies hook-line and sinker.

I ignored CJ's use of drugs, especially since she left him. I figured since she left him that must have meant that she didn't want to be associated with a cheater.

I will tell you this; I was more disappointed in Marion for having a child out of wedlock than for her associations with shady people.

That really bothered me.

I am still upset with Marion, but not as upset as I should be. I'm still in a bit of denial. When I see her I still feel sympathy for her. I feel bad that she's broke and going to jail.

How I feel about Marion is an indication that I am willing to allow myself to be hoodwinked by someone who I admire.

My judgment was (and is) defiantly off when it comes to Marion.

Great post.

Mango Mama said...

MDC, I understand girl. I fell for her denials too. She just seems so real, but that check fraud crap is no joke and with the money she was bringing in from racing and endorsements, she should have been content. I never got the greedy vibe from her, but I guess that's the point, we don't really know her.