Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Plaxico Burress Goes to Jail

From Super Bowl hero to Ulster Correctional detainee. How Plaxico Burress has fallen!
We all know the story of how he was carrying a concealed, unlicensed weapon into a nightclub and then accidentally shot himself in the leg when he grabbed for the gun as it fell from his waistband.
Interesting, though, how most of the area newspapers covered this story in the sports pages. The voices we heard were those of sympathetic sports columnists (we'll call them FOPs ... Friends of Plaxico) who pretty much all believe that Burress got a raw deal, that he was made an example because of his celebrity status, that his crime did not warrant the punishment he received.
Make no mistake. Plaxico Burress committed a crime, violating the laws of the state of New York. Whether he hurt someone other than himself or not is not the issue. And the point to all this is quite clear. The FOPs, and Burress himself, should not blame the judge for the sentence he imposed. They should not blame New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called for the stiffest penalty allowable under the law. The blame here lies squarely with Burress. Had he not knowingly broken the law by carrying his concealed weapon into the nightclub, his life would be different today. He would not be kissing his pregnant wife and young child goodbye for the next two years. He'd most assuredly be playing wide receiver in the NFL today, whether with the Giants or another team. He might even have had a chance to be Super Bowl hero again last year, but his arrest derailed the Giants after they looked for all the world like the team to beat in the NFL after 12 weeks.
It comes down to making good decisions. Burress and his FOPs think he was made an example of by the judicial system. Now, after his prison term, Burress should make an example of himself, and offer himself up to speak to community groups, as an example of what making poor choices can to do what by all accounts had been a very successful life.
-- David Rubinstein

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