Thursday, August 6, 2009

Plaxico Burress and an Unfair Double Standard



I believe that I do agree with Mr. Scoop Jackson here:
There are things your mother says that you let go in one ear and instantly out the other. Then there are things she says that you should carry with you throughout life, because one day you will desperately need them.

Take this one: "Never put yourself in a position to be used as an example."

Now that the grand jury indictment has come down on Plaxico Burress, we all are about to witness a lesson in what happens when one doesn't heed that advice.

From the judge and jury who will hear the possible trial to the office of the NFL commissioner, the future of Burress' career and several years of his life now sit in the hands of those who might use him to send a message to a much larger audience.

Plaxico Burress faces a minimum 3½-year prison sentence if convicted of gun possession.This didn't begin when the shot heard 'round New York was fired or when Burress decided it was necessary to leave his crib with a loaded .40-caliber Glock tucked into a pair of sweatpants (?!?). It began when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau began speaking out, basically saying that there would be no preferential treatment of the former Giants star and that he would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

What I want to know is, why can't Mr. Burress just be treated like any other idiot who goes into a nightclub and shoots himself in the leg with a handgun? It happens all of the time. I live just outside of Washington D.C. and I can't tell you the number of times I have had to sit and tsk tsk at a story about how some fool got dissed all up in his grille and shot off his gun and hit himself in the arm, the leg, the right butt cheek and made his girl fall and break her heel trying to get to the limousine. We should punish said individuals, as a matter of course. I'm not arguining leniency. I'm arguing consistency.

It would be a better country if we could just forget that Plaxico Burress is Plaxico Burress, and just treat him like everyone else. I would imagine that his ability to hire a good lawyer and his ability to reach a plea deal would spare him some jail time. The public embarrassment alone has been worthy of several jail terms. For a young man to act tough, shoot himself, and lose his ability to play professional football is to hand him a punishment that probably fits the crime. Now that he has entered into the criminal sphere, he should be treated like everyone else. Singling him out to "send a message" makes a mockery of the rule of law anyway.

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