New York Giants Deal with Fallout from the Plaxico Burress Gun Situation

JerseySenior Analyst INovember 30, 2008

If you're a football fan, you're aware of the very latest in the roller coaster that is Plaxico Burress. In case you haven't heard, he accidentally shot himself in the leg in a nightclub on Friday night.

That alone is a big story, and the surrounding details have only made it grow in scope. The story could have ended with the minor injury, some weapon-related controversy, and that's it. But it's Plaxico, so you know there has to be more.

First, there's the fact that Burress has already been suspended this year for off-field shenanigans. He's never been the meekest of players, and this season has been quite an adventure for him. At first, it was minor infractions like missing meetings and mouthing off, and the gun situation trumps them all.

Normally, I would laugh off the silly little schtick that Plax pulls, but the media (and many fans) like to paint him as a troublemaker. Now, along comes this gun infraction, and some will say this is the latest of Plax's craziness. I disagree: You can't compare having a big mouth to concealing a weapon.

But this situation would be serious trouble for any player, not just Burress. Concealed guns are quite problematic in New York. And when you take into account the stigma attached to Burress, it makes this infraction seem so much worse.

But still, he accidentally shot himself. It was an accident, and it wasn't like there was a fight or anything. Despite Plaxico's arguably checkered past, how bad was this really?

Well, there are legal implications. While he didn't hurt anybody (besides himself), there is a law against concealed weapons without a permit in New York. Plaxico does not have such a permit, and could face significant jail time as a result.

There's also the football-related implications, specifically in the cash department. The Giants could—and, really, have to—chase Plaxico's money.

This goes beyond a simple suspension and fine. This is a self-implicated, non-football injury, and it directly affects the team. They could potentially walk away with all of Plaxico's signing bonus, or at least a very large sum of cash. The Giants have to discipline him, just to avoid looking weak or silly.

And don't forget, this is the Roger Goodell era. He's suspending players for (crime of crimes!) just playing football. Do you really think he'll let a legit legal infraction slide? Who knows what he might do?

Oh, and he's out at least two weeks, and while the Giants do have depth, losing your No. 1 wideout is never a good thing.

There's also the Antonio Pierce connection. The defensive captain was with Burress in that nightclub, and suddenly finds himself involved in a situation he doesn't want to be a part of.

Personally, I think Pierce will walk away from this unscathed. He didn't have the gun, and he had no idea Burress had it either. He's been cooperating with the cops, and should be fine. He's an upstanding citizen, and I don't think he'll be in any trouble whatsoever.

Speaking of cooperating with the cops, Burress is doing exactly that. He will be turning himself in as early as tomorrow for questioning. It's not like he's running away from this situation. That may help him in the end.

On today's FOX NFL pregame show, Terry Bradshaw and Michael Strahan had differing views about Plax's future in New York. Bradshaw feels the Giants need to cut ties with him, and get him out of the locker room. But Strahan, who we all know was a longtime Giant, feels Plaxico will be back next year.

He contends that when you become a part of that team, you become part of a family, and they will try to help you no matter what. They won't just turn Burress loose on the wild, but will try to contain him, and see if he can still be productive for them. They hope he's now reached rock bottom and can only go up from here.

Personally, I agree with Strahan, chiefly because he's been there. No, he hasn't had the trouble Plax has had, but he's seen how the Giants handle such situations, so he's a reliable inside source into this situation. And besides, this isn't the worst possible crime. I know, guns kill people, it's quite illegal to conceal a weapon in New York, and he was definitely in the wrong. But this could have been so much worse.

But what is most intriguing, in my opinion, is the timing of this event. It's exactly one year to the week since Sean Taylor was shot (and killed) by a gunshot, and Plaxico's Giants just so happen to be playing Taylor's Redskins this week. A little eerie, if you ask me.