Jones proves ability not the best measure - Johnny Jackson

The news of Marion Jones has gotten my attention.

As a sports fan, I cannot help but wonder where is the world coming to when the holiest of sports venues is marked with scandal.

Reports say that Jones, now 31, has confessed to using performance-enchancing substances as far back as just prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Multi-time World and Olympic Champion, Jones has been investigated before.

In February 2006, she reportedly settled a $25 million defamation lawsuit against Victor Conte, the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative who claims he supplied Jones with performance-enhancing drugs. He served four months in jail following a guilty plea for steroid distribution.

She was one of several athletes who testified four years ago before a grand jury in the infamous BALCO steroids investigation. Remember former San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds, the current home run record-holder for Major League Baseball.

Jones strongly denied the allegations before. And most of us fans had little reason to doubt her. She seemed to have a fairness-for-all swagger.

Even her association with her ex-boyfriend - former track and field standout, Tim Montgomery, a world-record holder and the father of Jones's 2-year-old son, who was banned from the sport for two years due to steroid use - had not stifled the support of her fans.

Amid talks about this scandal and another fraud scandal, she is falling fast as one of the sport's angels.

Her case, again, reaffirms where we regular people should focus our attentions, if we want rightful examples for ourselves and our children.

We should look to our neighbors. They may not be able to throw a football 55 yards, hit 700 balls 450 feet, or outrun the next guy, or most. But many of them, enough of them, earn their living honestly. And that's something worthy of our attention.

Johnny Jackson is the education reporter for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at jjackson@henryherald.com or at (770) 957 - 9161.