NYC: A Missed Opportunity

AJ CusimanoCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2009

LEBANON - JANUARY 14: New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, right, walks with members of his legal team 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)

Plaxico Burress exercised poor judgement, as he has been accused of doing on many an occasion.  Less than two years ago he was on top of the NY sports world, one year ago signed a major contract extension and now is awaiting sentencing on a weapons charge.  He is now facing two years in prison for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

This article is about the political power and misuse of the law, by the city of New York to "make a point".  Mayor Michael Bloomberg painted himself into a corner by demanding the fullest extent of the law.  The District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who seems to have been around since the Ice Age, was determined to make a statement against the "Criminals" of NYC.

All while Donte Stallworth served a 30 day jail sentence for murdering a man with his Aston Martin.  In addition, he is suspended from the league for 2009, confined to his home for 2 years under house arrest, and is given 8 years probation.  He will play football again in 2010.  All while Plaxico Burress sits in a jail cell for his own stupidity.

Yes the laws of NY and Florida are quite different, but in this case, Mr. Burress' celebrity was not used for a greater purpose, instead of sitting in a jail cell.

It is my belief that NYC missed a tremendous opportunity in this case.  Mr. Bloomberg could have enlisted Plaxico Burress, the NFL and the NY Giants in the fight against weapons possession, and working with the youth to make an impact on the use of guns and gun violence.  A jail sentence does nothing positive in this situation, except satisfy the political aims of Bloomberg and Morgenthau.

Despite Mr. Bloomberg's assertion that Burress was not treated differently, he was treated harsher than normal citizens due to his celebrity status.  How many weapons charges have been dropped in the court system due to any number of circumstances, such as first offense?

This is the exclamation point, on a very sad drama for both NYC and Plaxico Burress.  All parties will move on and the story will go away.  But in the end this did not make a dent or educate the public on the use of handguns in NYC.  It serves to make the city look like the parent who only wishes to punish and not teach the child, who will go on and make the same stupid mistake again. 

Plaxico, you are a sad and tragic figure who has wasted your talent and position in life.  Mr. Mayor and Mr. DA, you are equally sad in your pursuit of warping the law to serve your own political needs.

PLEASE, PLEASE lets move on to football!!!!