Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Friday, August 21, 2009

Plaxico Burress: Does the time fit the crime?

Embattled former New York Giant wide receiver Plaxico Burress pled guilty to weapons charges yesterday. Now he’ll serve a 2-year prison bid for shooting himself in the thigh with an unregistered handgun last November in a Manhattan night club. If Burress didn’t plead out he could’ve gotten as much as 3 ½ years behind bars.

For some reason that just doesn’t sound right. A man shoots himself and gets a 2 year bid and Donte Stallworth was in jail for 24 days for killing a man while driving intoxicated.

Does the time fit the crime?

The New York City law is a joke-far too harsh. It makes no sense for a man to serve 2 years for being stupid. Yes, Burress should have exercised better judgment by simply registering his gun. But don’t you think 2 years in prison for being stupid is fair?

One thing is being overlooked here is intent. It’s plausible to assume Burress didn’t leave his home, go to the nightclub with the intent of shooting himself. He didn’t intend to harm himself or anyone else. Burress wasn’t operating in the capacity of a criminal nor sought to engage in any wrong-doing. In all likelihood the gun was for protection.


In essence Burress is being punished for his celebrity and what “could” have happened. Let’s be real here, Burress accidentally shot himself then goes to the hospital for treatment and that’s it. Purely accidental. But the kicker is Burress didn’t register his gun with the state. For that he will soon sit in a prison for two years to ponder his thoughts.

Again, does that seem fair?

To add further salt to the wound NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Burress for the length of his prison term. Once complete he can be reinstated and sign with a team of his choice. Burress will be 34 when he completes his bid. Without question it wasn’t a good day for Mr. Burress.

Even though Burress put himself in this position doesn’t negate the fact the New York gun laws are too severe. Why isn’t anyone speaking out in trying to get it changed? Why hasn’t any of his “friends” in the NFL spoken out against the law?

Where were his NFL buddies while he was going through this fiasco? At least Terrell Owens spoke out on Michael Vick’s suspension by Goodell by freely saying it was too harsh. Seems like if Burress would’ve had the support of his fellow NFL brethren perhaps, just perhaps it could’ve helped to get Burress a measure of leniency.

Professional athletes, especially African American, only speak out when their individual well-being is threatened. Rarely do they speak for the betterment of others.

This is not the 1960’s. We live in an “I got mine, you get yours world.” Sad indeed. People need to realize that for those who are “getting theirs” someone from back in the day paved the way. Those endorsement deals you get on the side and million-dollar contracts you have largely came through the efforts of Curt Flood and other pioneers who made sacrifices.

Oh well, would’ve been nice for Burress’ former cronies speak out against the severity of his sentence and show support instead of mainstream and corporate obedience by being distant. At the end of the day Burress is responsible for his actions. Just doesn’t seem like the time he’s serving fits the crime.

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