ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 09: Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Felix Jones bounced his ceremonial first pitch last week prior to a minor league baseball game in Little Rock, but the pitch itself wasn't the ugly part. Indeed, the real story is the public relations gaffe surrounding that pitch.
In a report published last Thursday by Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Fraley explains that part of the onslaught of publicity surrounding the former Arkansas Razorback's appearance was the promise of an autograph session.
"The Arkansas Travelers trumpeted Jones' paid appearance," Fraley writes, "saying he would sign autographs for one hour."
Fans, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, began lining up at the ballpark 45 minutes before Jones arrived. When he finally made it, the disappointment commenced.
Due to what seems an unfortunate lack of communication, Jones didn't know he was expected to sign autographs--and, due to a contract with a trading card company, he said he couldn't attach his name to a single item.
Travelers' general manager Pete Laven said that Jones was embarrassed by the situation, but that he understood his conundrum. The team issued rain-checks to fans miffed by the situation.
"[Jones] wanted it to be clear to the fans as soon as possible that he hated to see them standing in line without knowing the situation," Laven said. "It was his top priority for us to convey to the fans in the best way possible that they would not be able to get his autograph. I feel bad for him more than anything."
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