Lining Up in the 'Gun

Donald BiehlContributor IDecember 18, 2008

If you're like most red-blooded Americans, you spend the last Thursday of November every year with your family, screaming at each other across a table stacked high with bird flesh and mushy starches.

A nightmare, to be sure, unless your name is Greg Aiello, who would certainly prefer even the fiercest family fracas to the doom and fear future Thanksgivings will hold. For the second year in a row, the NFL Spokesman spent turkey sandwich weekend with the press, doing his best to spin a gun-related incident involving a player from the league, the NFC East specifically.

A year and a day after Redskins S Sean Taylor was fatally shot in the leg at his home, Giants WR Plaxico Burress foolishly shot himself in the leg at a club. What a mess.

Plaxico's biggest problem isn't the wound though, or the NFL. Even the law itself would seem an ally when NYC's mayor comes down on you. Michael Bloomberg is worth billions, the eighth-richest American, according to Forbes Magazine.

He works for $1 a year, gives millions away, and flirts with running for President. You might have caught a pass or two Plax, but this guy takes the subway. And he wants you in jail. Not probation or a month in minimum security, no, Bloomberg is going for the femoral.

"It would be an outrage if we didn’t prosecute to the fullest extent of the law," said the billionaire, a course of action which, if successful, could result in a prison sentence of seven years. Burress' $35 million extension would be two years expired by then.

While Bloomberg postures and the NFL waits, Ben Brafman prepares for yet another high profile criminal trial. The NYC-based defense attorney has represented everyone from media moguls to mobsters to molesters. Certainly Brafman must think his hiring a bit much for Burress, a celebrity, sure, but severely lacking in clothing lines, hit records, and plain old hits.

Brafman has told the media it would be "a terrible sadness if an isolated incident could ruin a life," but who is to say this is an isolated incident? You'd be naive to believe this just happened to be the first time he brought the gun out sans permit. Far more likely, this incident is isolated in that it was the first time Burress was caught.

While surely there are surprises abound in the future of this story, you can be sure of one thing: athletes behaving badly is not a trend, it's the rule.

Burress went to a nightclub where he felt he may need to use a handgun. He brought the loaded weapon regardless of the fact he lacked a permit. In all likelihood, he coerced hospital employees into calling a "cooperative" doctor and somehow (bribery?) got them to implicate themselves in this mess by not reporting the shooting.

Just for good measure, Burress also gave a fake name and lied about how and where the shooting happened. The Giants have acted, suspending Burress for four games and placing him on the non-football injured reserve list which effectively ends his season. As for his career, well, that depends on who you ask, Bloomberg or Brafman.