- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2007

Ron Mexico is trying to decide between bad and worse, neither option apt to help his tattered reputation.

That perhaps explains his reluctance to cop a plea.

The latest leak indicates he just might be willing to go to trial, a daunting proposition considering the array of forces lined up against him and a potential outcome that would be far worse than a plea bargain.

The feds have seven witnesses ready to implicate Mexico, including three members of his inner circle, and phone, computer and financial records.

Reasonable doubt is a funny thing, as we all know, but damaging testimony from a childhood buddy would challenge even the most gifted team of highly paid defense lawyers.

Money is Mexico’s only saving grace at this point.

Justice is hardly blind when it comes to the financial resources and the celebrity of the accused.

That is the system, flawed as it may be.

Or to put it another way, you pay for what you get.

And Mexico is in a position to pay whatever is necessary to strike the most favorable terms.

And so we wait.

We wait on Mexico to cut a deal or go to trial, with his career in the NFL on hold and in doubt.

However it goes down, he will be radioactive material to those teams that eventually may court his services.

In the court of public opinion, Mexico has been convicted, the evidence too overwhelming to ignore.

This is not the work of a small-town prosecutor staring at a stack of she-said, he-said papers.

This is a case that has been fashioned by the feds, who have used all the massive resources and tools at their disposal and left a once-promising quarterback with nowhere to run.

We have grown accustomed to professional athletes going wild, mostly because of a sports subculture conditioned to look the other way. This starts long before an athlete lands under the bright lights of a professional venue. The process begins as soon as the athletically precocious are deemed special in grade school and junior high. They soon learn that the rules do not always apply to them.

The sports subculture is perhaps the leading enabler in America, no doubt because so many worship at this temple.

Those who question how Mexico could allow himself to be linked to dogfighting, if not be the principal architect of the Bad News ring, overlook the blinding power of the sports subculture.

It is forever giving its practitioners a pat on the back, no matter how despicable their actions may be at times.

Mexico and his inner circle certainly lacked an end game in the event of a plan gone bad.

You might think his inner circle would have felt compelled to protect the money spigot, just as the ex-trainer of Barry Bonds has done. The ex-trainer sits in a cell because of his refusal to cooperate with investigators on all things Bonds.

Barring a miracle result in a trial, Mexico and his defense team have a three-front battle: the feds, the state and the NFL.

Roger Goodell, the get-tough NFL commissioner, has nothing to discuss until the legal process is concluded.

It could become personal with him if it turns out Mexico lied to him in April, when he claimed to have no knowledge of the dogfighting operation that was found on his property in Surry, Va.

America is inclined to give the fallen a second chance, if the fallen is sufficiently contrite.

Mexico is a long way from the rehabilitation process, if it comes to that.

He is facing the prospect of missing the next two football seasons and being the symbol of evil of every animal rights group there is.

So there he goes, in the free-fall mode, with each new development more ominous than the last.

The next sound you hear from his camp could be splat.

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