The League

Dawn Knight
Author

Dawn Knight

The author of Taliaferro: Breaking Barriers and a high school English teacher.

Let Him Play, But...

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We don't sit around the dinner table every night. It's too hard to fit into everyone's schedule, but we try at least a couple of nights a week, even when it's just take-out pizza, like tonight. We usually talk about our days, but my husband wasn't home yet; I had been at a conference all day; my son had a two-a-day football practice, but he had already filled me in on today's torture, and my daughters had just cleaned their closets (yippee!). Since there wasn't anything else to discuss about our days, I asked their thoughts on the Plaxico Burress situation and whether he should be permitted to play in the NFL.

My son said, "Um, yes, he's on my fantasy football team." Ha ha. My daughters, who are 10 and 11, had to be filled in on the shooting- in- the- leg- at- a- nightclub incident. Neither of the girls was happy with him. They decided that you can't play football very well when you're drinking and shooting yourself in the leg.

They have a point. If someone was paying me 35 million dollars to play football, I would probably try to stay healthy, out of respect for myself and for the team. Not to mention that whole hero thing. Which begins another issue -- reluctant or not, athletes of the caliber of Plaxico Burress are heroes to children. There is no denying it when you see kids of all ages in a Giants jersey with Burress on the back. (We don't see many of those in Indy, though - Go Blue!)

So, the discussion continued. My daughters both felt that he should go to jail, but that he should be allowed to play in the NFL because, "It's not like he did anything against the football rules or anything" and "Well, isn't that what he's good at?"

Again, they have a point. Part of our judicial system is supposed to be rehabilitation - to make felons productive members of society again. Burress can be most productive making millions playing football. Still, I have a suggestion for the NFL. Send Burress to meet for several hours with a former football player who did not sign mega endorsement deals with Gatorade, Nike, or Under Armour; whose contracts were in the thousands, not millions; and who had to work during the off season He was a community member, accessible to the public and unspoiled. He played football simply because he loved to play. Send Burress to talk to someone like George Taliaferro.

By Dawn Knight  |  August 4, 2009; 6:07 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , New York Giants , Plaxico Burress , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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