Tag Archives: jacksonville

No, it’s not what you think

marissa alexander 1America’s new hot button trial of the year is one by many eyes looks strangely familiar. A Florida woman has been granted a retrial after she was convicted last year in Jacksonville, Florida on three counts of aggravated assault for firing a gun to scare off her “threatening” husband.

Marissa Alexander has seen a lot of support from family and friends, but more specifically the public after she claimed Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but had it rejected and wound up getting sentence for a mandatory 20 year sentence.

At the center of this case we find Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, the same law in which George Zimmerman used in his defense to get acquitted of the murder charge he faced in the death of Trayvon Martin in the same state. But for many people, still feeling raw about the Zimmerman verdict, who want to see justice avenged in this case, don’t know is that the two cases are vastly different, which is exactly why under the same Florida courts we saw two different results.

This story only gained national exposure after Zimmerman was arrested, and a group of family and friends wanted desperately to point out the same defense posture that was deemed valid for Zimmerman, but invalid for Alexander. Sure, just hearing the headline its easy for anyone to be outraged. “Woman who claimed Stand Your Ground after firing a warning shot at her abusive husband sentenced to 20 years.” But if you found that foul, then you yourself would be guilty of not looking at the facts.

Marissa Alexander said she was threatened by her husband after the two got into a confrontation over text messages. She then retrieved a gun and fired a warning shot. But after reading court documents and police reports, one can really find out what really happened.

marissa alexander 2Alexander claimed that her husband Rico Gray prevented her from leaving a bathroom in which she locked herself into. Eventually, Alexander not only made it out the bathroom, past Gray, but also out of the house. She then went into the garage to leave, but decided to get a gun. She said the garage door was broken, but there was no evidence to prove that. She instead chose to go back into (and not exit the house through another door, mind you) and confront her husband. There goes her Stand Your Ground argument, by the way. So now feeling re-threatened, she fired a “warning” shot, not in the air or ground, but toward his direction, even with her kids in the house nearby. One child who even testified in court that he was in fear of his life.

Oh yeah and speaking of domestic abuse, only one of the two of them have a record of arrest of spousal abuse. And I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the guy. Yes, after being found battered and bloodied, Rico Gray had to call the police on his wife a second time (second, as in this was after the shooting incident) after she found her way back at his house against court orders preventing contact between the two.

So with all of this, can one really be surprised it took a jury 12 minutes to convict her of the assault charges? While anyone can agree that the 20 year sentence may be a bit excessive, but under state law its mandatory, considering there’s a deadly weapon involved. The retrial that was granted wasn’t because of some new evidence, or because there was reasonable doubt. It was because of an error in jury instructions. Kudos to her attorney for finding that. It may work out in her favor with a new jury. But keep in mind, she still cannot use Stand Your Ground, so maybe not.

Not for nothin, but this is not the poster trial of racial inequality. Nor is it your excuse to bash the state of Florida for a case where you were not involved in as a defendant, prosecutor, defense attorney, juror, or judge. This was just a poor decision made, seemingly out of anger and not fear.

Good Luck All-In!

Jaguars are All In
Jaguars are All In

The Jacksonville Jaguars are “All-In”, according to their 2012 season marketing campaign. It’s not uncommon for professional sports teams to rev-up the fan base with various promotions, ticket offers and pep rallies, all the while showing off the new athletic product on the playing field. Last year the Jaguars finished with a disappointing 5 – 11 regular season record. Their season was full of upheaval and disorder. They started the season off by releasing their long time quarterback David Garrard. After a couple of bright spots, including runningback Maurice Jones-Drew leading the league in rushing, they went downhill with rookie Blaine Gabbert at the helm. The season ended with the firing of coach Jack Del Rio and the sell of the team by Wayne Weaver, long-time owner and founder of the franchise. Now a new season is here, with new leadership, and the new owner Shad Khan wants to let everyone know that he and his team are fully committed to turning things around for a positive outcome this season. The new push and the slogan for this season is seen all around the city of Jacksonville and on television and radio ads. The Jacksonville Jaguars players, coaches and owner are all “all in” and its shown in everything they do.

Marketing groups for professional sports teams normally put a push behind their product. It’s used as something to assemble the masses in an upbeat manner and prepare them for the season. In fact, the slogan “All In” is not something we haven’t heard before. It has been used by a few sports franchises, even in professional football. It has popped up a lot in our recent pop culture. In its current usage, the term “all in” probably comes from the game of poker. When playing poker, a player may express his bet as “all in” essentially wagering everything he or she has. Since the early 2000s poker has exploded, specifically no-limit Texas Hold’em. It being one of the forms of play with no limitations in pot size and betting amounts, tends to see significant action from competitors, all of whom know that at one point through the course of their game they very well may be all in, whether they like it or not. In the game, when it’s a players turn to act they can check, bet or raise. All in is a form of a bet or raise where the player puts his chips at stake, but it also sends a message that the player is willing to risk it all on the current hand. By definition it has to be a strong move full of confidence. Whether a bluff or if you really have the best hand, your end result will be in you doubling your position that you were in before or making all your opponents fold to your bet.

All in
All in

So what does this all in bet mean for the Jacksonville Jaguars? Well if they’re going to use the term then they should know what it means and it’s repercussions. Poker players know that putting all their chips in one bet is a risky move and very well could see them sidelined. Do the Jaguars realize that, or are they just saying “all in” to be catchy? More importantly, if you started with a little, moving all in is more of a desperation move than anything. Jaguars only won five games last year. They didn’t come anywhere near the playoffs, so yes, it would seem that they are desperate to give their fans something to cheer for this season. But if you go all in, you can only win as much as you put in. Maybe it’s that effort that the Jaguars want to covey in their message. But then again, if you’re going up against a superior opponent, one with significantly more chips than you, your all in bet only prolongs your inevitable demise.

Not for nothin’ but the Jaguars shouldn’t gamble on their season. The correlation between the two types of games football and poker are quite significant. Of course they’re both competitive in nature, but the similarities don’t have to end there. As the Jacksonville Jaguars have reminded us, the terminology between the two can be interchangeable as well. The Jaguars are taking an all or nothing attitude to this season. Just from their previous position, their all in battle cry screams more desperation than strength. Just as a poker player has to have the best hand if his all in bet is called, the Jaguars are going to have to have put out a product that’s better than everyone else’s product. No team will fold to them as they go all in. Part of the desire for any player who pushes all in is making sure you have the goods. The other part is making sure everyone folds in case you don’t. If everyone folds and no one plays, you live on to play another hand no matter what. So as a favor to themselves, the Jacksonville Jaguars need to remember that. If you push all in, you will get called, and what happens after that is left on the table…or on the field in their case. They can talk a good game, but they have to back it up too. Fortunately for them, the all-in bet does work every time, but once.