COLUMN: After sex scandal, Warriors’ Jackson must know he’s under scrutiny

Mark Jackson is not the first man to enter a “gentleman’s club” and lose his way. He is not the first individual whose extramarital affair led to criminal charges. But the Warriors’ coach is now among the many whose selfish or questionable indiscretions yielded ugly consequences – in Jackson’s case six years after he made the mystifying, monumentally stupid decision to take and send lewd photos of himself.
The Warriors on Thursday announced through a news release, and without further comment, that their coach was the victim of an alleged extortion plot after an extramarital relationship with a stripper that the coach says ended in 2006. Two individuals, the ex-stripper and her alleged accomplice, have been arrested.
Jackson, as you might expect, concedes to embarrassing himself.
This is salacious stuff, especially for an ordained minister such as Jackson, who along with his wife, Desiree, opened a church three years ago in Southern California.
Were this indicative of Jackson’s judgment and lifestyle six weeks ago or even six months ago, this would have exposed him as a hypocrite, a dapper New Yorker hiding behind religion and a smooth exterior. It would have and should have cost him his job.
Six years ago is another matter. Jackson, 47, should be six years smarter. Moreover, he is six years deeper into his faith.
Though this will not threaten Jackson’s job security, it gives the Warriors valid reason to sit with the coach in an effort to discover if there might be any more, um, unpleasant surprises. This is the second unsavory episode related to Jackson, who was hired last June. He arrived at his introductory news conference with the head usher of his church, Warren Braithwaite, who a few days later was arrested on drug-distribution charges.
Even though nothing suggests the coach is involved in criminal behavior, being connected to these matters pierces his character.
Jackson’s largely solid image, if not his reality, might have remained intact had he not turned a camera on himself and shared the results.
On the list of stupid decisions by someone with much to lose – personally, professionally and financially – spreading explicit photos of oneself ranks near the top, almost as high as getting drunk and taking the wheel.
Brett Favre allegedly did it, as did former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. The same allegation, you may recall, reached former Warriors star Monta Ellis.
How much rum does it take to persuade someone this is a good idea?
Jackson’s affair is said to have occurred when he was employed by the YES Network as a TV analyst for New Jersey Nets games. The extortion allegedly did not begin until April 3, near the end of his first season with the Warriors.
Jackson admits to making at least one payment and three weeks later informed the Warriors. The team and the coach enlisted the assistance of the FBI, who eventually arrested ex-stripper Alexis Adams and her alleged accomplice, Marcus Shaw, the man who allegedly approached Jackson in April demanding money and threatening to release photos and phone messages to tabloids.
Surely relieved, Jackson followed the team’s acknowledgment by issuing a five-paragraph statement that read in part:
“The personal information in the extortion scheme related to a woman that I, mistakenly, had an extra-marital relationship with six years ago _ prior to joining the Warriors – when I was a TV sports analyst. I made my wife aware of the relationship at that time, apologized to her and we reconciled. Obviously, my self-centered transgression at that time is not something I’m proud of, but I’m blessed to have an incredible wife, mother and partner and I thank the Lord for her each day.
“I recognize the extremely poor judgment that I used both in having an affair six years ago – including the embarrassing communication I exhibited during that time – and in attempting to deal with the extortion scheme at first by myself. I made some egregious errors. I apologize for any embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends and, of course, the Warriors.
“At that time in my life, I was not (a pastor). Three years ago, my wife and I established a ministry. With deepest regret, I want to apologize to my Church Family.”
As a statement of regret and apology, Jackson’s comes across as sincere and well-conceived. That’s more than can be said of his act of exhibitionism.
Jackson should get through this; his family apparently already has. The Warriors, who made it clear they don’t condone Jackson’s behavior, probably will forgive.
As long as the coach convinces players he’s no phony, this won’t affect his ability to lead. He must know, however, that every eye in the building is watching his every move.
(c)2012 The Oakland Tribune (Oakland, Calif.)
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