NFL Draft: No Jones For Former Tar Heel Dwight Jones


Carolina held a Pro Day for football players at their facility on March 20th, 2012. However, Dwight Jones was nowhere in sight. Dwight was banned from attending the Pro Day event. This punishment stems from the “1st Annual Dwight Jones New Years Birthday Celebration” that was held in Burlington, North Carolina this past December. Initially, Jones was suspended for Carolina’s Bowl Game against Missouri; however, his suspension was lifted with the agreement that his New Year’s Eve party would not take place. There was a poster that appeared on Dwight Jones Facebook page after the loss to Missouri. There seems to be some miscommunication as to whether or not Dwight Jones attended the party. Dwight Jones told UNC officials that he did not attend the party; however, the party still took place. If he didn’t attend it, then he didn’t attend – point blank. However, not believing him illustrates a lack of trust between UNC athletics and Dwight Jones. After digesting all of this, do you think it was fair to forbid Dwight Jones to attend Pro Day?

I may be taking the safe route on this question, but sobeit. I am 50/50 on this one. Both sides, the UNC Athletic Department and Dwight Jones, make compelling arguments and points. Dwight Jones cannot control the actions of others. Maybe, he was honest when he stated that he did not attend. However, UNC Athletics feel that when one of their football player’s names is attached to a function that clearly undermines NCAA rules then he has to assume control over the actions of others. In other words, the football player should shut the party down like the ATF. I understand the position that new football coach Larry Fedora and new athletic director Bubba Cunningham are in right now. They do not want Carolina to further tarnish their football image, especially after the sanctions that were given, rather earned, this past season. Face it, Fedora is wearing a lot of hats right now (pun intended). Fedora wants to wipe the slate clean and develop a positive persona for Carolina football. I got that. What about Dwight Jones image? Does not allowing him to attend Pro Day at Carolina set the tone for a bad boy image for Dwight Jones? Maybe, the situation could have been handled differently. Perhaps telling Dwight Jones to stop marketing the party via his Facebook page would have been set better parameters. Or, if it was possible, telling Dwight Jones to drop his name from the party or cancel it altogether.

I see this situation as being a good ‘ol case of hearsay and “he said, he said.” It seems like there were not any solid parameters set in place. I hope that Fedora and Cunningham get Carolina football back to where it was in 1981 – ACC Championship status. In order for this to happen, Fedora must clearly get his points across to the football players. Make sure there is no room for misunderstanding. Carolina’s football players have no room for error based on what happened a few years ago.

As in Dwight Jones’s case, I hope that this young man has a long career in the NFL. More importantly, I want him to learn from his mistakes and not repeat them. Dwight Jones has to realize that his name is a brand. His actions and behaviors, good and bad, will affect his brand. In addition, he should watch the company that he keeps. This was one lesson to be learned from the Michael Vick situation from several years ago. I hope that the one scout from the Denver Broncos who attended Dwight’s personal workout at East Chapel Hill High is not an indicator of the teams who are interested in Dwight’s talent. Aside from the New Year’s Party incident, Dwight can flat out play. He is by no means a head case like some of the players in the NFL. Aside from his talent, his work ethic was evident from what he accomplished in the past two seasons. Prior to Giovani Bernard coming to Carolina, Dwight emerged as “the go-to man” on offense during the 2010 football season. Hopefully, Dwight Jones can have a second chance to make a first impression.