When The Man Comes Around: Johnny Cash and Professional Athletes


The Man in Black wrote songs about a variety of topics.  He covered nearly every aspect of the human psyche.  What he also managed to create, unwittingly, was a point for point textbook on how to be a successful professional athlete.  If only Cash was blaring in the stereos of today’s young millionaires, they might stand a chance.  Players who have made catastrophic mistakes could have saved their reputations and bank accounts with a little advice from the country legend.

Gilbert Arenas:

Don’t take your guns to town son

Leave your guns at home

Don’t take your guns to town

Wait, you can’t bring guns into an NBA arena? What if you are the star player?  Are loaded guns illegal at places of business? I’m confused why I’m even writing this segment.

Hibachi.

Here is a step by step process, which I have personally created in order to ensure further success for Gilbert J. Arenas.  With perseverance and dedication, the memorization of this intricate plan can save a life time of problems.  The road is long and filled with obstacles, but the goal is within reach of those who truly believe.  Without further delay, here is the unparalleled program for Agent Zero:

Step One: Leave your gun at home

Step Two: Problem Solved

Agent Zero should have turned down whatever he was listening to, driven straight to the nearest Best Buy and slapped down 12.99 for “The Essential Johnny Cash”.  After making his way through classics like “I Walk the Line” and “Big River” he could have stumbled upon “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town”.  Which, as a song, is a fairly self-explanatory tale.  Don’t bring guns to work or you will make your mom sad.  Lucky for Zero instead of lying dead in the dust of a frontier town, he gets to take a multi-million dollar pay cut.

Jayson Williams:

The sheriff he asked me

Why had I run

And then it came to me

Just what I had done

And all for no reason

Just one piece of lead

I hung my head…I hung my head

In the case of the “murdering J Will” (as opposed to the pot smoking J Will and Ducati ruined my career J Will), it was more than just one piece of lead that destroyed his future as an NRA spokesman.  If only the anti-drug organizations had used a middle aged professional athlete instead of a 13 year old boy in their infamous “I got high then shot myself with my dad’s gun” ad campaign.  Maybe, just maybe, this crisis could have been avoided.  Even Charlton Heston thinks showing your shotgun to the limo driver is out of line.

Guns don’t kill people, first round NBA draft picks kill people.

Matt Jones:

Come on you’ve gotta listen unto me

Lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be

The former NFL first round draft pick has depreciated in value at roughly the same rate as my 2007 Chevy Cobalt.  He was a college wonder-kid who could play multiple positions and possessed crazy speed for a 6’6 quarterback.  The Jaguars selected him with high hopes in 2005, but he has been virtually useless throughout his career.  Consider it the Rick James effect.  After all, cocaine is a helluva drug.  The police report stated that he was arrested after being found in his car cutting up cocaine with a credit card.  Hopefully, it was an American Express Black Card.  Anything less would just be sad.  A multi-millionaire athlete cutting up cocaine with his Capital One card just doesn’t have the same gusto.

From O.J Simpson to Rae Carruth and Mike Tyson to Pacman Jones, there are countless professional athletes that had it all, only to throw it away with poor decision making skills.  Cash would have certainly disapproved, although he made his fair share of bad choices.  Maybe the reason that Cash’s songs are so relevant to pointing out mistakes to avoid is that they are mostly about common sense.  Stay away from cocaine, don’t shoot people, and try to not bring a gun to work.

Simple rules, surprisingly hard to follow.

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