We Really Don’t Know Anything
On Monday, Jackson’s court date was canceled. On Tuesday, Jackson was back on the practice field named after the former Vol that owns the convenience store at which his “buddies” may have committed a felony. However…
We don’t know who really made the decision to reinstate Janzen Jackson to the team – Kiffin, Hamilton, Simek (UT’s Interim President) – and we don’t know all the facts that were considered in the decision-making process.
We don’t know where Janzen Jackson was at the time of the holdup. His lawyer, an advocate for his client, said he was in the back seat of Marie Montmarquet’s car. The store clerk reportedly said that a football player was inside the store acting strangely at the approximate time of the holdup. One of the persons subject of the holdup indicated that a third person came over and told the two pranksters-with-guns to get out of Dodge.
We don’t know if Janzen Jackson was given a drug test after his arrest. Remember, he was suspended for the Memphis game four days before his arrest for, by some accounts, failing a drug test. And obviously, if he was given a drug test, we don’t know the results, and if he wasn’t given a drug test, we don’t know why.
As I’ve said before, we wanted to take our time and get all the information in regard to his situation. These were very serious allegations and we had to make sure we handled this properly. After an extensive and thorough investigation by the Knoxville Police Department and the District Attorney’s office, they’ve cleared Janzen of any wrongdoing in this situation and he had no prior knowledge of this incident. Janzen will join team activities today. As I’ve said before, we hold our student-athletes to an extremely high standard on and off the field, and Janzen has seen the effect personal decisions had on his former teammates and he is excited to rejoin our team activities.
I think he’s very relieved. This has been very difficult on him. As I said, he was cleared of any wrongdoing or any knowledge at all of this situation happening, and so part of you feels bad for him in a way because he’s had to go through this. Him and his family have had to go through being on SportsCenter, his name tagged with this incident, missing the last two games because of this. I know he’s excited to be back and he’s ready to go.
I would sure hope that it is a wake-up call. Even though you’re cleared of any wrongdoing, it’s just a wake-up call to what the reality is. It’s, ‘Hey, if I did do something like that, look what could be taken away from me.’
— Lane Kiffin on Tuesday regarding the reinstatement of Janzen Jackson to the Tennessee squad.
We don’t know the whole story of Janzen Jackson, from Memphis game suspension to today, regardless of what his lawyer says, or what the store clerk says, or what Cory Zickefoose says, or what Lane Kiffin says, or what anybody says.
What will speak louder than anything is what Janzen Jackson chooses to do with his life and his god-given talents. As Mike Strange wrote in a column Tuesday at GVX, it is Jackson’s choice to be like Eric Berry off the field, somebody he has been compared to on the field, or to become like a long string of former Vol players who squandered their talents and careers at Tennessee with off-field troubles.
This post has been edited from its original version due to previous inaccurate interpretations of the author.