As an NFL player, it's hard to dislike Adam Jones. When he yanked the football from Julian Edelman's grasp in the endzone that forced New England to kick a field goal, I cheered. When he navigated torrential rains and sidewinder-like winds and intercepted Tom Brady's pass near the goalline, my maniacal Bengals fanaticism caused rifts in the space-time continuum. Even more promising is that with Leon Hall is expected to return, the Bengals will have an electrifying player on punt returns again; though Jones has returned a few during Hall's recovery.
When Adam Jones is on the field, wearing the coveted Bengals uniform, I cheer. Nothing else matters at that stage; players are focused between the boundaries of white chalk, as fans are ridiculously obsessed about every snap that could significantly affect an entire season. It's in our blood to dissolve the irrelevant stories off the field, putting on our caps for one sole thing: winning. We'll deal with the character risks, though the Bengals have publicly said that they're moving away from those, only because the reward can be that much more gratifying.
But as a person, it's hard to like him. Routinely getting in trouble with the law is one thing, and not really the point. There are instances where he wasn't initially in the wrong, but his reactions during those situations lacks common sense. Not once, but twice in the past year he's lacked restraint and awareness to comprehend, not only his status and obvious target as a celebrity, but understanding that his actions draws so much more attention.
In the past two years, he's been cited and/or accused of disorderly conduct; the quotes and recordings of his interactions that have been released, should embarrass him. What the witnesses said during the night he was accused of assault in June, are disgraceful. And lost in all of this is the etiquette that as a man, you do not hit a woman -- unless your life is threatened (let's not pretend that it was here). There are no excuses. There are no "buts". That's it.
In the end, you have to ask, is it really that important whether we like someone or not? Having pride in the character of your players is important, and boosts overall support, sure. Helping my team, no, our team, surpass the boundaries of inadequacies are more important. There's no doubt that the stature of Andrew Whitworth is raised when he tries to keep secret that he's paying for the funeral of a teenager who died playing football. And let's not be completely unfair; Jones has his qualities. A good family man that looks to help younger generations of NFL players by spreading the word about his indiscretions; whether he wants to follow that advice or not, it'll reach someone.
In the end, Jones has a place here as long as he help's Cincinnati win.