Sunday, January 13, 2008

Marion Jones Sentenced to Six Months in Jail

Once the most celebrated woman athlete in the world, a disgraced Marion Jones has been sentenced to six months in jail for perjury. Last year she denied using performance enhancing drugs despite reports to the contrary. She was also involved in a check fraud scheme. I wonder if I am the only one speculating about what happened to cause this young woman’s downward spiral.

Seven years after winning five Olympic track and field medals is officially broke and humiliated. Jones has lost off all of her properties, including the home she had purchased for her mother. Last year, a Jones urine sample tested positive for the performance-enhancing drugs. Jones immediately quit a European track tour and returned to the United States. Although she was cleared when a backup sample tested negative, she missed at least five major international meets, forfeiting an estimated $300,000 in appearance and performance fees.

In her prime, Jones was one of track’s first female millionaires, typically earning between $70,000 and $80,000 a race, plus at least another $1 million from race bonuses and endorsement deals. Jones made an appeal to the judge that she not be separated from her two sons, which includes a baby who is still nursing. The judge denied her request acknowledging that the children were innocent victims, but "criminals have to realize the consequences of their actions on others".

Jones claims not to have known that she was taken steroids, which she stated was given to her by her then trainer, Trevor Graham. I don’t think she should go to jail. She has been stripped of her money, homes, lifestyle, Olympic medals, and her dignity. Why should her young children have to suffer the absence of their mother? I would like to know how others feel about Jones’s sentencing.


Barbara said...

I am very disturbed by her sentencing. Yes, what she did was wrong but this seems overly harsh to me. For one, the children should not have to suffer. Putting her in house arrest would have been much more appropriate if the judge felt he HAD to punish her. The other thing that bothers me is that this woman has a PROBLEM. She went from being, like you said the most celebrated woman athlete, to committing perjury and fraud and losing all she had. That to me is a cry for help more than a criminal. Her behavior may just have to do with greed....but I'd like to see her have HELP for whatever caused her to turn this direction, not go to jail - 6 months is a long time for those two little boys to go without their mom.

pjazzypar said...

We are a punitive society and we really don't care who gets hurt in the process. Ms. Jones has paid in a big way already, but if the judge feels she still owes a debt to society then I love your suggestion of house arrest. She gets punished, the children get to keep their mother in the home and the taxpayers are spared of having to foot the bill for her incarceration.

Lori said...

I was shocked and disappointed when I discovered the allegations about Ms. Jones were true. I've always wondered how winning by cheating feels like a win at all.

But I too think the sentence was rather harsh. I also think there are much better ways to both humble Ms. Jones and "make an example of her." Why not have her tour schools across the country and tell all the kids she meets that she was a liar, a cheater and a drug user? Have her show the kids footage of her returning the medals she won and have her encourage them to avoid the path she took.

Barbara's suggestion of house arrest is an excellent one as well.
Too bad we don't get to have a say in the matter (smile).

pjazzypar said...

Lori, I like your suggestions as well. Talking to children, especially those involved in athletics would be a great way for her to redeem herself. I believe she is remorseful and not just because she got caught. She handled the entire situation badly, but my gut feeling is that she lied because she was desperate.

The Rock Chick said...

I really was shocked by all of this news about her, too. I've heard two separate reports, one stating that she only knew about the check fraud scheme, another stating she was involved.

I think if she was involved (I dont know if she was) then the sentence is probably right. I do understand that she has small children at home, but she's not an infant herself. I'm sure she was aware of what could happen to her.

If she only knew about it and lied, well then I think she should have been sentenced to home confinement or something like that so that she could be with her children and they with her.

It does seem like there's been a long line of deception and money made from that. Hopefully, her terrible story will convince tomorrows athletes not to go that route.