In a press conference that was neither streamed on the Jaguars’ website nor permitted to be carried on live television or radio, Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon apologized for his recent arrest for aggravated DUI, and he has sworn off alcohol, at least for the time being.
“First off, I want to apologize to [G.M.] Gene [Smith] and Mr. [Shahid] Khan and his family and coach [Mike] Mularkey,” Blackmon said. “The whole organization, teammates, everyone that I with my poor judgment over the weekend that I brought bad press to. I want to apologize to fans or people that looked up to me, because what I did, the decision I made over the weekend, that might be questioning who I am now. I just want to apologize for that, and just let people know that’s not who I am, that’s not who I’m going to be. . . . I’m looking to make things better, and I will continue to try to do that, from starting yesterday on.”
Blackmon said he doesn’t have a problem with drinking alcohol. “I just think I made a poor choice . . . I put myself in a bad situation . . . it was completely my fault, I’ve just got to make better judgment on that,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon also said he’s done drinking “right now,” and that he “seek whatever I need to seek” by way of help.
Given that Blackmon has pleaded not guilty to aggravated DUI and that the prosecutor reportedly has no plans to allow him to plead to a lesser charge, Blackmon did himself no favors, as far as his legal situation is concerned. If he exercises his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at trial, the prosecutor nevertheless can play the tape of his press conference. If Blackmon testifies, he will be forced to answer a barrage of questions regarding the things he saidon Wednesday, from the fact that he apologizes to the use of words that suggest guilt, like “poor judgment” and “poor choice” and “bad situation.”
That said, he declined to answer some of the questions that were asked, citing the pending legal situation. Specifically, he wouldn’t talk at all about the specific events of Saturday night, including whether he had an opportunity to get a ride home.
As to whether the situation will impact Blackmon’s still-unsigned rookie contract, G.M. Gene Smith said that the situation “can impact” the negotiations, but Smith declined to get into any of the details of the talks.
Smith also said that the incident “certainly reinforces the need to do in-depth research.” As to the decision to make Blackmon the fifth overall pick, Smith said they felt good about the move, based on the work they did. Smith said the goal remains for Blackmon to have a “tremendous career” with the Jaguars.
Coach Mike Mularkey wants folks to remember that, despite Blackmon’s mistake/error/bad judgment/whatever, the vast majority of the team’s players continue to make good decisions. “This last weekend,” Mularkey said, “89 guys did it the right way.”
That’s fine. But they’re expected to. We’re all expected to. When someone departs so severely from “the right way” and allegedly gets behind the wheel of an automobile with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.24 percent, it’s important to pay more attention to that outcome than to the many who didn’t put anyone else’s life at risk.