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Free Jamaal Tinsley!

Oh, wait, I forgot, Jamaal Tinsley IS free. With the public outrage I've been hearing and reading, you'd think Tins was sitting in a cell somewhere for violent crimes committed against humanity.

I keep hearing responses that this should be the final straw with Tins, get him out of town. His third club related incident requiring police involvement, how tough is it to stay out of trouble. Larry Joe Legend can't let this go without serious punishment and should trade him. If he does nothing, LJL should be fired.

Why? Have these people actually read the police account of the incident or did they just see Tinsley, Rolls Royce, and automatic gunfire and conclude JT must be at fault somehow? Please tell me exactly what Tins did to deserve a suspension, or worse, a trade out of town.

He was out at 3AM and...I'm still waiting to hear a valid reason that wold justify jettonsing Tinsley. There have been plenty of attempts to fill in that blank, but they all seem to include thug or idiot. Some say he's horrible and acts like a malcontent. The venom unleashed against Tinsley and the Pacers has been staggering and truly a PR catastrophe for the team.

One of the most reasoned responses admonishing Tinsley is here at HoopsVibe. I fully understand and share the frustration expressed with hindsight questions about how and why Tins found himself in that situation. I think this line captures everyone's initial reaction.

There was disbelief when I heard the details of the most recent event. There was the initial thought of, "Tinsley? Again?"
But from there, it appears many with a negative attitude toward the Pacers or specifically Jamaal, simply dismissed the actual details and lined it up as an equitable incident to what happened at Club Rio and the 8 Seconds Saloon. Problem is, this was completely different. Tins was out having fun at a concert after-party, not stirring up trouble. Sure it was a bone-headed move to hang around Cloud 9 until 3AM. But, again, that's what he did, head home from a club at 3AM. Unless further details emerge, the trouble was thrust upon Tins, not caused by him.

We know now, the Pacers don't plan to punish Tinsley and now is not the time to move him either. Let me be honest here, my defense of Tinsley is heavily biased. Have you seen Tinsley play lately? He's been incredible. The Pacers have been a joy to watch. Anyone who thinks JT is a malcontent hasn't been paying attention. He loves playing for O'B, and seems to enjoy the demanding coach that helps him thrive.

Would I feel the same way if Tinsley was still going through the motions with Rick Carlisle? Probably not. I'd be ready to send him off, but then again, the whole situation would be much worse. But we're not dealing with hypotheticals here. Reality is tricky when you avoid the simple solution and consider all the factors involved.

There's no doubt, Jamaal has been making strides in the right direction. Mike Wells is a reliable, independent voice following the Pacers and he's seen those strides up close. Tinsley takes one step back and everyone wants to get rid of him? No. Stick to the plan and look at this incident as a blessing in disguise for a guy who has had trouble taking the steps necessary to change his lifestyle.

I would imagine watching automatic gufire blow through his ride, hearing silence, looking and feeling for blood, and then realizing he wasn't touched by any bullets might change JT's perspective. Realizing every bullet that burst through his Phantom was intended to kill him had to shake Tins to the core.

People say a leopard doesn't change his spots and Tinsley will never learn if he hasn't already. Well, how about letting this experience settle in and see how JT reacts. His comment that "the man upstairs gave me another opportunity to see another day" suggests a man who's been reflecting and realizes where his off-court decisions can lead him if he doesn't change. I'm willing to let Tins stick around and see if he can put his words into action.