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Burress To Spend Year or More in Jail? You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

LEBANON - JANUARY 14: New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress warms his hands as he arrives at the Lebanon County Courthouse January 14, 2009 in Lebanon, Pa.  Burress is scheduled to appear in a civil trial in a dispute with an automobile dealer over what he owes in damages to a vehicle supplied to him by the dealership. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2009

Plaxico Burress is a dumbass.

That doesn’t mean he should spend a year or longer in jail, however.

Burress, as many can recall, accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun in a New York night club last year. The incident was stupid, regrettable, and dangerous.

But it was also isolated and left the assailant as the only victim involved.

So why send Burress to jail for such an extended period of time for making a fool of himself?

Two reasons: He’s black, and he has a history of being a boneheaded football player. Not that any good prosecutor would ever admit this or even think to breach the topic, but it’s the truth and it’s the unfortunate reality that Plaxico Burress is currently encountering.

Let’s compare Burress’ situation to that of two other black NFL players with track records: Donte Stallworth and Michael Vick.

We all know Vick’s situation. He was convicted of operating a dog fighting ring and sentenced to 23 months in prison. Burress, by comparison, is facing a 24-month sentence if prosecutors get their way.

Then there’s Stallworth, who struck and killed a pedestrian while driving intoxicated in Florida. The Cleveland Browns’ receiver received a 30-day prison sentence, though he only ended up serving 24 days behind bars. He remains free on two years’ house arrest and eight years’ probation.

So you’re telling me that a guy who murdered numerous dogs, and another guy who actually killed a human being will be spending less time in jail than an idiot who shot himself in the leg with no intent to harm others? Really?

To say this is ridiculous and a horrible indictment of our justice system would be an understatement.

So we’ll just call it what it really is: a joke.

Prosecutors want to put Burress away because they don’t like the guy and they view him as a menace to society. It’s more a personal issue, I would wager, than a judicial one.

Imagine for a minute if the guy who shot himself was a white player with no history of being a troublemaker—say, a Wes Welker-type—since that seems to be the prototypical white skill player these days.

All this Welker-type would have to do to spare his name and his image would be to issue a public apology, drop a tear or two, and then get back to training camp. There would be no legal proceedings. No threat of two years in jail. No harm done to his career. Well, save for the bullet hole in the thigh, of course.

The point is, if we remove the face of this incident and replace it with that of your average joe off the street, it makes no sense. Two years in prison for accidentally impaling oneself with a bullet? It just doesn’t register.

Unless you’re Plaxico Burress, apparently.

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