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Like Father, Like Son: John Mara Continues His Father's Level-Headed Legacy

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - 2008:  John Mara of the New York Giants poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Max WillensCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

Giants President John Mara knows the value of keeping quiet.

The son of longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara, John grew up around one of the NFL's most dignified, level-headed men, a multi-millionaire blessed with common sense.

When his father spoke, people listened. Throughout his decades as the Giants' owner, Wellington Mara did everything from help secure the NFL's first TV broadcasting deal to marshal support for the most recent collective bargaining agreement.

Wellington Mara's reasonable and responsible thinking always carried weight.

So when New York district attorney Robert Morgenthau ominously suggested today that Antonio Pierce might be charged as an accessory in the Plaxico Burress case, Mara did something that might have made his father very proud.

He called the idea ridiculous.

In a statement released this afternoon, Mara wrote that he "cannot understand the DA's position that Antonio is subject to criminal charges."

"When this incident occurred," the statement reads, "Antonio reacted out of concern for the health and well-being of Plaxico Burress. His first priority was to make sure Plaxico received proper medical attention for what very well could have been a life-threatening wound."

"There was no criminal intent," it continues, "on the part of Antonio, who was thrust into this predicament simply because he accompanied Plaxico that evening and because he made the decision to immediately take Plaxico to the hospital. We believe it is unwarranted for the DA's office to press criminal charges against Antonio under these circumstances."

In an era in which "No comment" is the response of choice for people in his position, Mara opted instead to say something completely reasonable.

Pierce is neither a hardened criminal nor a shady, irresponsible enabler. And Mara stuck up for him at a crucial moment in what has been an unusually testy and unpredictable episode for both the Giants and the New York District Attorney's office.

There wasn't much for Mara to gain by opening his mouth about this case. He and the rest of the Giants' organization has stayed mostly silent, choosing to avoid possibly inflaming Morgenthau and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has also taken interest in the Burress case.

But like his father, Mara will go to bat for his players. And in a moment when Pierce could have been unnecessarily caught up in the public's ongoing trial of fans versus athletes, John Mara showed that the Giants are still in good, common sensical hands.

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