Thursday, November 24, 2011

Marcus Dixon has a lot to be thankful for. We all should be thankful for whatever we can enjoy in our lives. He is a guy who had to fight the obstacles he encountered as a young man and the injustice he has had to live with for the past 8 years. He is now a 27 year old football player for the New York Jets. Number 97. Not too long ago he was in jail as a sexual predator.
Now he is free to play for the Jets. How did that happen? His story involves race, sex, crime and punishment. He got all these problems in his home town of Rome, Georgia. In 2003 he was a confused teenager locked up in prison. Until his senior year in high school he had a pretty normal happy life.
He was the biggest and best thing at his school. He is 6 feet 4 inches and 260 pounds. He was one of the top defensive players in the country with nearly perfect grades too. He was bound for Vanderbilt University. He is black and his adopted white father said, “He could have gone anywhere. Marcus could have gone to Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, but yet he wanted to go to Vanderbilt a college know for its academics not football.
His white parents, Ken and Perry Jones rescued Marcus from a badly broken home at age 10. They love each other and consider them parents and son. Just like in the Sandra Bullock movie, “The Blind Side” only this real life story almost had a very bad ending. But in an old fashioned southern town, racists still prevail. When they adopted a black boy, the white family broke up. The grandmother who lived there moved out when the boy moved in and the brother of the father stopped talking to them.
Located just 70 miles north west of Atlanta the sentiment is that whites should stay with whites and blacks should stay with blacks. Days after committing to Vanderbilt, Marcus was thrown into jail. He had sex with a sophomore at his school called Pepperell School. A girl claimed he followed her into a classroom trailer and raped her. He said that the sex was consensual and had been planned.
There was a witness another boy who said she told him that they wanted it but that her father was a very racist guy and she was nervous if he found out. She was afraid what would happen to her if her father found out she had sex with a black guy. She thought that he would kill both of them.
The District Attorney failed to get a rape conviction but managed to call him a sexual predator because at the time Marcus was 18 and legally an adult. The girl was just shy of 16 considered a minor. The prosecutor used this law to get a conviction even though there has never been a case reported on such close an age or involving teens.
Marcus got 10 year in prison with no chance for parole. He missed his white parents more than football. The press reported the story that helped him get an appeal from the Georgia Supreme Court and Marcus was out of prison. One of the few schools that would take him was Hampton College. He thrived there both athletically and academically. In the 2008 draft he was projected as a late round pick. After the draft the Cowboys signed him to the non-roster practice squad for 2 years. Just before last season, the Cowboys cut him. Then his agent told him the jets signed him.
Without the appeal he would have still been in jail. His parents now get to see him in the NFL not in prison. Things are well now. Since he is just 27 years old now he still has a lot of football in him, Someday he wants to coach as well. As to the family rift that Marcus’s father eluded to, Jones and his brother are again on speaking terms and the whole family is talking about football and how thankful that a doomed life and career can turn into the exact opposite. Marcus is very thankful for his turnaround. We should be thankful for forgiveness in our own society and families too. Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments:

Post a Comment