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One of the major areas of criticism with sports teams is how they handled their own players causing trouble. Often, there is in-house fighting that we don’t hear about because the teams keep it from the public. But, when it happens in the public eye, we have a way to judge how a team disciplines trouble-making stars.
We all know that a player of lesser importance will always be punished strictly and fairly, which is why the Plaxico Burress incident has been fascinating and indicative of a massive cover up effort that failed.
I don’t think anyone disputes that Plaxico Burress made a major mistake. He brought a gun with him to a club, had it fully loaded and it was reportedly cocked and had the safety off. He was pretty much asking for trouble. If the gun went off by falling down his sweatpants (what a great gun holster, I must say) or because he actually fired it himself, it is clearly Plaxico’s fault. Furthermore, the license for the gun was from out of state and it had expired.
Finally, Plaxico lied to hospital employees to have them help cover up his mistake. Plaxico’s punishment of being suspended for the rest of the season is pretty well-deserved, as well, seeing as the Giants just rewarded him this past September with a new contract for actually playing well and with the expectation of him being responsible during the deal. Plaxico violated the contract with poor conduct.
Giants LB Antonio Pierce, for those who have not followed the news of this incident, wanted to be a good friend and tried to hide the gun after the fact, by taking it to Plaxico Burress’s wife in New Jersey. While it is a crime to have done so, Pierce has not been arrested, and it looks like he will not be prosecuted since he is complying with the legal investigation.
However, the team should have suspended Pierce for a short period for his compliance in hiding evidence of a crime. The Giants decided, however, that Pierce is too important for the team to lose for even one game, unlike Burress, instead of punishing their star linebacker.
The Giants are far from guilty of just that crime. From some reports, it seems that the Giants were informed of the crime at the time it happened and tried to help Burress conceal the crime by calling up a doctor to take care of Burress. The Giants, without doubt, did not report the crime to the police, despite their knowledge of it. And finally their double-standard with Burress and Pierce encourages this sort of behavior with “irreplaceable players.”
So what do we have here? A system in which two football players, a football team, and a hospital can all aid in the events of a night that involved criminal activity, and only one of the four ends up in trouble for it (Well, kind of. Some hospital employees ended in in trouble, but not enough to make the point that not reporting the issue to the police should not be tolerated).
Furthermore, if Burress’ wife helped to hide the gun, as reports indicate, she not only deserves to be prosecuted, but she deserves heckling, given that she is an attorney. This is the system that our society has created, though. As long as the blood of someone is shed, metaphorically speaking, they’ll be happy, even if justice is not carried out the way the law was intended. To see that, just look at the way the public reacted to O.J. Simpson’s recent sentence.