Friday, August 21, 2009

Plaxico's Punishment Will Teach Valuable Lesson


Not long ago, he was the New York Giants' Super Bowl hero, annointed for his famous game-winning catch, making Super Bowl XLII one of the greatest ever.

But drastically, Plaxico Burress saw a promising career implode before he could even utter a very useful word.

"Foolish."

Common sense tells me he committed this crime out of stupidity, and failed to think about what he was doing before he did it.

Some will prefer to call his idiotic judgment a serious crime, while others will quickly admit that it was horrific and perilous and an infraction. Some aren’t sympathetic at all, convinced he deserves a harsher sentence.

Was Burress’ sentence harsh enough or too harsh? Either way, Burress must serve time in prison for making poor choices that have ruined his trusted reputation and change the way the masses perceive the naturally gifted wideout.

He was famously known for the captivating catch, which granted a miracle to the New York Giants in an upset win over the New England Patriots. He was indomitable as Eli Manning’s primary target.

A promising and solid culture, however, can topple once unlawful scenes are broadcasted to the entire world, particularly when issues involve a dynamic wide receiver as talented and explosive as Burress.

Over the years, he emerged as a premier superstar, as the Giants faithful admired Burress for showcasing remarkable talent.

But as fast as he made them competitive, Burress sabotaged the Giants with one costly misdeed, which was more serious than a kid making a big boo-boo. One night at a New York nightclub, a .40 caliber he owned, fired and a bullet hit him in the right thigh.

Truth is, Burress’ concealed weapon could’ve killed innocent people inside the night club, and worse it could’ve endangered his career had he had to serve a harsher sentence. Instead, each individual has their own ideas about Burress, and will argue that accepting a plea bargain with a two-year prison sentence isn’t a harsh penalty for carrying around a concealed weapon.

For many of us, there’s no sympathy granted, but you have to feel slightly sorry. Understand that if Burress would’ve had the gun on safety lock to avoid this episode, he would’ve never been arrested, indicted or even have had to agree on serving time for the crime. Avoiding 3 1/2-years maximum sentence, is a good thing -- partly because of fame, which allows Burress somewhat celeb reverence.

Beyond all measures, facing severe ramifications, is a valuable lesson that should teach Burress the importance of staying out of trouble. By having ignorant ways, being stupid, apathetic and confused, it put Burress in this situation. He will have to regain trust and credibility.

When he’s released from prison, an intrepid team will take on a player of his caliber, regardless of distractions. It’s perilous when any team gives infamous players a second chance. I'm not saying it’s bad, allowing players to have a chance to redeem from all calamities, but they can jeopardize a team's morale.

Pitifully Burress became an ex-Giant, not long after he had accidently shot himself. Not only did he let down himself, but he let down his ex-teammates, too. Notice how efficient they were when Burress was still playing.

Meanwhile, you can learn an important message. Burress is the epitome of athletes who carry concealed weapons. And the first reaction for the next one caught with a weapon will be treated the same, I guess.

This was a wake-up call to athletes and everyday working people. Fortunately, Burress only shot himself and nobody else. This is currently Burress learning to secure values, show maturity and dismiss arrogance. Being self-centered ended a brief stint as the Giants' top receiver. Thinking he was very important to the team’s future, he lacked the notion that 11 players offensively and defensively are needed to excel in the league.

Point is, he failed to abide by New York laws, and now must pay for violating those laws. They couldn’t care less if Burress was licensed in Florida. They wanted to send a message. And being a Super Bowl hero doesn’t always get you a free pass, or he would’ve been able to walk out of the courtroom a free man.

It's kind of like the Michael Vick situation. Vick was recently released from federal custody, after spending 18 months in prison for bankrolling a dogfighting ring. Sure, the crime was more repulsive and horrid, but Burress’ incident could’ve turned into a deadly massacre. So he will stay in the slammer for doing harm to himself, and more importantly, learn to abide by the laws.

Because he lives the celebrity lifestyle, Burress is fortunate to have a light sentence. His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, is the best in New York, and has represented many criminals. To use the sympathy card, Brafman made it seem as if Burress was New York’s most innocent guy.

Still, he must spend time locked up to realize and understand lugging around a concealed weapon will not be condoned. With a mindset that he never had to follow team rules, Burress tried to elude the streets with freebies and was expecting to receive sympathy from the average New Yorker.

Yes, on a team he can get off easy, but not on the streets. It's obvious they’re emphasizing a critical statement to cease weapon possession in the public, using Burress as an example.

At one point, the grand jury indicted Burress on two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second-degree reckless endangerment. Those are charges that can force prison officers to throw away the key, whether you're famous or not.

In that case Burress would’ve been infamous, as he could’ve received a 15-year sentence, if he was convicted on all those charges. From that perspective, he's been given another chance, just as Vick was given another opportunity when he joined the Philadelphia Eagles, attempting to redeem and recover from the hideous crimes that will have a burden on his renaissance. Even he learned a lesson, and seemingly it has made him more humble, matured and gracious.

Paying for your actions isn't always bad. Here is where Burress will have a turning point to change as an individual, by altering into a humbled, matured and gracious individual that is likable, not only for the game, but as a person, too.

Although it might be the end of his career, you can’t count on it. In a forgiven country, he’ll be given another chance.

But in a less sympathetic country, players won’t get away with their foolish and sinful misconduct.