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Union to File Grievance in Burress Case

The NFL Players Association will file a grievance on behalf of suspended New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, claiming the team's punishment of him after he suffered a leg wound in an accidental shooting early Saturday violates his rights under the sport's collective bargaining agreement.

The union has issued a written statement that says: "The NFLPA is still reviewing the actions taken by the New York Giants relating to Plaxico Burress but we intend to file a grievance challenging those actions as we believe that Burress' rights have been violated under the CBA."

The grievance will not affect Burress's immediate playing status. One union official said it will take several months for the case to be resolved, so the grievance will not make Burress eligible to play for the Giants again this season.

It's not immediately clear what the basis for the union's grievance will be. Under the sport's grievance process, the NFL will represent the Giants in the case and, barring a settlement prior to a hearing, the two sides' arguments will be heard by an arbitrator.

On Tuesday, the Giants announced that they were fining Burress, suspending him for four games for conduct detrimental to the team and placing him on the non-football injury list, making him ineligible to play for the club again this season or postseason.

The four-game suspension, assuming it's without pay, will cost Burress $823,529 of his $3.5 million salary for this season.

The Giants acted on the day after Burress turned himself in to police and made a court appearance Monday on charges of criminal possession of a weapon. He faces a possible jail term of 3-1/2 to 15 years. He is free after posting $100,000 bail and he is scheduled to make another court appearance March 31.

Burress, 31, reportedly shot himself in the leg accidentally after taking a gun with him to a New York nightclub. Burress reportedly was not properly licensed to carry a gun in New York.

The Giants indicated they had Burress examined by one of their team physicians Tuesday and the doctor determined that the wide receiver would need 4-6 weeks to heal sufficiently from his gunshot wound to play football again.

The placement of Burress on the non-football injury list potentially paved the way for the Giants to possibly attempt to force him to return a portion of the bonus money in his five-year, $35 million contract completed just before this season's opening game. The Giants would have to prove that Burress violated his contract if they pursue such an action against him.

The sport's labor deal allows a franchise to suspend a player for up to four games without pay for conduct detrimental to the team. But it also requires teams to justify such actions, and gives the union the right to file a grievance on behalf of any punished player. When the Giants suspended Burress for two weeks (but, thanks to a bye week, only one game) earlier this season after he missed a team meeting, the union intervened and managed to negotiate a settlement that cut the amount of Burress's lost pay in half, from two weeks of lost pay to one week.

It's possible that Burress also could face disciplinary action by the NFL under the league's personal conduct policy. The league's gun policy warns players that carrying an unlicensed firearm makes them subject to possible disciplinary action by the NFL.

By Mark Maske  |  December 4, 2008; 9:56 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Giants , League , Union Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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By filing a grievance in behalf of a gun totting, brainless super star who might lose a few dollars because of his stupidity, the NFL players union is totally remiss in the message they are transmitting to the youth of our country who idolize these sport heros. There's no place for all the Burress's who feel they are above the rules we all live by. Shame on you. Gene Upshaw would probably roll over in his grave if he knew.

Posted by: Stang | December 4, 2008 3:32 PM

Plaxico Burress (who the hell names their kid Plaxico?) is a Giant IDIOT! WTF is he doing carrying a gun into a nightclub? What a buffoon!

Posted by: Doug | December 4, 2008 1:04 PM

It all starts in schools and communities, stop coddling these kids just because they play sports and demand they live up to the same standards as the rest of society. Skip class, bad grades, bad behavior; get cut from team, very simple. To many times we make excuses for these jerks and look the other way when they do wrong and we end up with stupid jocks who think they are entitled to ignore the rules and walk over everyone else to get or do whatever they want. The college degrees the rest of us earn is cheapened by the jocks who get passed along for carrying the ball on weekends.

Posted by: tniederberger | December 4, 2008 12:32 PM

Boy, do I love unions! Seems like they could better spend their time working to defend players who didn't knowingly break both the laws of the state where they live and the NFL's personal conduct/gun policies.

Posted by: Jonathan | December 4, 2008 11:33 AM

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