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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Shooting Self Could Be A Life Sentence


I cannot believe we are having this discussion. I just can't believe it. A man shot himself. HE SHOT HIMSELF and yesterday he was indicted for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and could go to jail for more than three years.

Clearly the stupidest thing in this entire saga is the fact that Plaxico Burress went into a bar last year with a gun tucked into the waistband of his sweatpants. And yes, I'm not above making the joke that wearing sweatpants to a bar should be, in itself, an indictable offense. But this story has gotten more and more ridiculous since then. (Ed Note: PFT had word that Burress was wearing jeans, not sweatpants. Somehow shooting oneself isn't quite as funny anymore.)

He was perp walked. He was offered a deal to plead out on a mandatory minimum three-and-a-half year prison sentence. He turned that deal down. Then, to theoretically clear his name and avoid indictment, Burress actually testified before the grand jury, all but sealing his fate when this case eventually goes to trial.

This case is going to trial. A man wearing sweatpants shot himself at a bar and the case will be going to trial.

An article by Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated questions the decision by Burress to testify before the grand jury, but states that he may have been doing it because,

"by publicly expressing contrition following the grand jury proceeding, Burress may have tried to impress NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who under the league's personal conduct policy, has sole discretion to suspend Burress."

This is the world we live in now, where an NFL player will virtually indict himself in order to show the commissioner of the NFL he's truly remorseful. Justice may be blind, but Roger Goodell clearly isn't. The issue with Burress' strategy -- if pre-epmtively appealing to the NFL for reinstatement leniency is his strategy -- is that he's 31 years old, has played nine seasons in the league and currently has no team. In the wake of his initial arrest, countless stories came out questioning his work ethic and penchant for showing up late and falling asleep in meetings.

Not your model NFL citizen.

Regardless of whatever "I decide when you live or die" punishment Goodell can smack on Burress' head following his legal resolution, the fact remains that, as per yesterday's indictment, there's a really good chance a prison cell will be in Burress' future first. Reports indicate that the minimum three-and-a-half years can actually become one or two years -- thanks loopholes and back room deals! So we look a year into the future to see a receiver rounding into his mid-30s, who missed a year-and-a-half of football while being incarcerated for shooting himself. While wearing sweatpants.

Even if he only gets a year and Goodell doesn't suspend him any more -- remember he was suspended by the Giants for the last part of the 2008 season already -- he's looking at a year and a half out of the league. If he gets more than one year, and Goodell adds on his now customary 4-6 games of conditional reinstatement, Burress could miss as much as three seasons in the NFL.

After that much time away, and that much baggage and lack of character, is there any team (even the Raiders) who would want a piece of Burress? So no. It doesn't look like he'll ever play again.

A guy went to a bar, a gun went off in his pants, and that's it. His life is ruined. He's lost his job. He's going to jail. He'll be suspended from working whenever he gets out of jail, and won't be able to find work in his field once that suspension is over. It's tragic -- and a lesson to everyone else out there in a similar situation -- that one's choice of pants (and choosing to stuff a gun into those pants) could lead to a life sentence. Because if that's what happens to Burress' career, that's exactly what this is -- a life sentence.

By Dan Levy  |  August 4, 2009; 9:03 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Dan Levy , NFL , New York Giants , Plaxico Burress , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Stupidity's Not Criminal | Next: Truth Should've Set Plax Free

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