The Kenrick Ellis Agreement Sends a Bad Message


According to all accounts, Kenrick Ellis is one of the most improved Jets coming into 2012. Coach Rex Ryan singled him out, along with Vladimir Ducasse, as the most improved Jets. With the team adding young defensive linemen, prompting a possible switch to more four man fronts, Ellis performing well will be essential to team success.

But, Ellis had a problem when he arrived in New Jersey. His pending trial for felony malicious wounding. If he had been found guilty, there was the potential of being deported, as he is not an American citizen.

So, he enters the “Alford” plea. He doesn’t admit to anything, except for the fact that he knows he could lose at trial. He pleads down to misdemeanor assault, to serve 45 days in jail. The point of this is not to argue the merits of a plea bargain, obviously they happen all the time.

However, more accomodations were made for Ellis with regards to football. These accomodations, which I will go through, send the wrong message. As much as they are great for the Jets, it sends a bad message.

The original agreement of 45 days in jail was soft in its own right, as Ellis was only going to miss a few days of training camp. However, the judge decided to allow him to split his sentence, and serve only some of it now, the rest coming in March of 2013.

But that is not all. They have also agreed to allow Ellis to participate in work release, permitting him to workout with the football coaches at Hampton University during the day, and return to jail at night.

What does this amount to? He has to sleep in jail each night for a while. He isn’t spending any real time in there, other than sleeping and waking up. Is it even really like spending time in jail?

The message this sends is wrong. It says that if you are a football player, you will receive special consideration, no matter what you do. That says to kids that if they go out for football they can get away with bad behavior.

Heck, a lot of them are already covered for when they earn bad grades in school. Nothing is more important that sports if you look at the value system. Kenrick Ellis clearly injured someone badly, if he earned a felony charge, plea or no plea. Shouldn’t he lose something more than just his home bed?

This action by the court doesn’t teach Ellis that what he did was wrong. Jail is meant to correct behavior, that is why they call them “correctional facilities”.

You know who seems like a changed man? Michael Vick. Why? Because he spent significant time in prison, and lost his job. When there are actual consequences for what you do, you learn. Same with Plaxico Burress. He may be slower now, but you don’t hear about him getting into bad situations now, do you? Reason? He had real jail time, and he lost his job as a football player.

Real acts deserve real consequences. Making Kenrick Ellis sleep in jail for a few weeks after working out all day doesn’t qualify.

Great for the Jets? Absolutely. Great for Kenrick in the long run? Absolutely not.

It sends a very bad message.