Pac Man's Cry for Help
Some mildly thought-provoking news out of the NFL today – apparently the league is considering preemptively suspending Adam "Pacman" Jones for the entire 2007 season before legal proceedings from a February strip club brawl in Vegas are finished.
Just to clarify, we don’t find this news thought-provoking because we’re fascinated with Pacman as a troubled individual and are interested in how he might get punished for his numerous transgressions.
Rather, we’re fascinated by what he might be doing to the name and reputation of his video game namesake.
Seriously, has a video game company ever considered suing for the rights to the character’s name? Because frankly, Adam Jones is really doing a nice job of sullying the little yellow round guy's otherwise impeccable reputation.
Think about it: The Pac Man we all know, love and occasionally pay tribute to with a 25-cent piece at that one pizzeria in our hometown that has yet to upgrade the video game machine is known for eating copious amounts of power pellets and keeping the world safe from ghosts. (Granted, we don’t know what’s actually in those power pellets – they seem suspiciously like steroids – but otherwise, we can’t find much of anything to convict Pac Man of any sort of offense in the moral court of law… unless it somehow came to light that Ms. Pac Man was under-aged.)
However, his Tennessee Titans namesake is pretty much making current and future generations think that the hungry little round creature is not so much a vigilant and spirited ghost fighter but a self-destructive sociopath.
So why haven’t the creators/owners of Pac Man’s rights taken any action?
If I were to strap on a gorilla suit, call myself Donkey Kong and run through the streets throwing barrels through storefront windows, you can bet your sweet ass I'd be hearing from Atari (or whatever company created that game).
Or at the very least, you can bet that I’d be beaten down and punished by police to the point that I’d probably decide masquerading as Donkey Kong was a bad idea.
But since Pacman Jones is a professional athlete who has the wherewithal (read: money) to escape certain legal troubles, we can’t assume that Johnny Law will appropriately punish him for his transgressions. And we also can’t assume that a one-year suspension will be the most devastating thing ever for a guy who a) already has plenty of money and b) often seems more concerned with what kind of activities he can get into away from the football field.
So at this point, there’s really only one appropriate course of action:
We have to take away his nickname.Only then can the healing of Adam Jones’ reputation – and perhaps more importantly, the restoration of the real Pac Man’s good name – truly begin.