Plaxico Burress Is Being Made An Example Of and It Is Wrong | Robert Littal Presents BlackSportsOnline
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Plaxico Burress Is Being Made An Example Of and It Is Wrong

by Robert Littal | Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2009
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I am going to give you a list of facts about a person who committed a crime. I want you to tell me how lengthy their jail sentence should be or if they should be sentenced at all:

1- The person has no prior convictions.
2- The previous week, the person’s good friend was robbed at gun point.
3- The person has/had a gun license that may or may not have been expired in a different state.
4- The person takes this gun with him to a club.
5- The security at this club allows him to enter the club with the gun.
6- Security decides it may not be a good idea, so they ask the person if they can hold the gun.
7- In trying to give the gun to security for safety reasons, the gun goes off.
8- It doesn’t shoot anyone in the club, but it does graze the thigh of the individual carrying the gun.
9- The person in question is considered high profile, resulting in a series of poor decision making after the incident as opposed to reporting it and coming clean.
10- Finally, and seemingly too late, the person owns up to what happens to authorities.

Using common sense, in your opinion, how long should this person be in jail? Two months? Six months? Not at all?

If you said two years, you are crazy! But, that is the length of time Plaxico Burress will spend behind bars after accidentally shooting himself.

I understand the law; legally he is facing a “felony weapons charge”.

Once again, read those ten points and tell me if a real “felony” has taken place? Once again our legal system is using a prominent black athlete as an example (see Michael Vick) and I find it appalling.
Basically, this says:

“If we can put a Super Bowl hero in jail for two years because he shot himself, imagine what we will do to you.”

People should be punished for committing crimes, but what happened to the concept of the punishment fitting the crime? How are people getting two years for dog fighting and shooting themselves, but only thirty days for DUI and manslaughter?

I have nothing against Donte Stallworth. He had a great lawyer, who got him an even greater deal, but the facts are, he was legally drunk and admitted to smoking weed before striking and killing a pedestrian. If you give Stallworth the benefit of the doubt and say it was more of a tragic accident than negligence, how can you justify his “accidental mistake” being worth twenty-three months less than what was handed down in the Plaxico Burress case?

Stallworth unfortunately took a life, and Burress could have taken one, including his own, but the Michael Vick sentence didn’t even involve humans and you know the severity of his sentence.

Honestly, I am disgusted with our legal system. I know for a fact there are people who have done far worse crimes than Plaxico Burress, who served far less time. If I had not majored in Journalism, Criminal Justice would have been the way to go.

Child molestation, burglary, assault and even attempted murder nets better “deals” than this two year sentence for a weapons charge.

The illegal possession gun law is in place to deter people who get guns illegally with the intent to commit crimes. I agree with the law because there are too many guns on our streets, in the hands of the wrong people. This was not the case with Plaxico Burress. The gun had been licensed and he had no intention of committing a crime. Some would say that he was justified considering his teammate, Steve Smith, was robbed just a week earlier. It is asinine that he be sent to jail for two years when real criminals are running free.

If his name were Peter Burress, and not Plaxico, I wonder if this case even gets prosecuted. Under this law if you try to commit suicide with an unlicensed gun and fail are you going to jail for two years? I highly doubt it. This is wrong on so many levels that I could write five more pages, but my point is clear. The reason Plaxico Burress is going to jail for two years is because his name is Plaxico Burress and if you don’t believe that you are naïve and foolish.

I do want to point out that in this case, Plaxico Burress is less than smart. There are reports (even I reported it) that he could have taken a plea deal last winter of a few months in jail and he turned that down. Those reports are disputed by some, but if true, Burress deserves part of the blame for his current predicament.

His actions after he shot himself were wrong. If he would have just reported it properly, it is possible he could have avoided this whole situation.

I am not saying Burress shouldn’t be punished. He broke the law and he could have killed someone, but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Burress has the classic reputation of a spoiled athlete who thought he was untouchable. I honestly hope after that what happened to Vick, Burress and to a lesser extent, Dante Stallworth, all athletes understand they have targets on their backs and as quickly as they succeed, our Justice System is just itching to make them the next “example” of failure.

Smarten Up.

About the Author

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Displaying 25 Comments
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  1. Seven says:

    If he doesn’t know how to handle a hand gun, especially one that goes off if you stare at it funny, then yeah he needs a 2 year time out from human interaction. That was an dumb move on his part regardless of his emotions. I see that shyt everyday…people accidently firing a hand gun and accidently injuring themselves or someone because of improper use. No excuse for idiotic moves like that. He wouldn’t be an example if he stopped and thought. And yes, I’ve evaluated myself in the mirror and concluded I have never and will never play Russian roulette w/ someone’s due to improper use of a hand gun. To much is given, much is required. That is a right that requires a great deal of care. I am sick and tired of seeing accidental deaths because of someone’s “my bad” moment and then breaking the news to families.

  2. viva says:

    Great post Rob I agree with every word

  3. I have no problem with this conviction. IMO if he would have registered the gun in the state, it's possible that his sentence may have been less. Let me elaborate more, had he not brought the gun to the club AT ALL, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If you feel the need to bring a gun to where you are hanging out, then maybe that's not the place for you to be to begin with. What if he accidentally shot someone else? Nothing good could ever come from someone concealing a weapon anywhere.

    These athletes continue to believe they are larger than life because they make a lot of money. And Plax definitely showed that behavior, even with the Giants by coming late for meetings and practice. I have nothing against Plax and wish him well, but I'm calling a spade a spade here. Hopefully this is a reality check that, in fact, he puts his drawls on one leg at a time just like everyone else

  4. I agree 100 percent with all of your points about the seriousness of the crimes and that two years is too much for shooting yourself in the leg. Your research is well-grounded; your points are valid. I like the blog, too, and will add it to my feeds.

    Here's the only problem: this is not a situation where a judge sentenced someone to too much time. Plax got an offer from a DA. He accepted it. Case closed. This ball was entirely in his court (sorry for mixing the sports metaphors), and he chose to accept the two years.

    Plax could have gone to court if he wanted, and he might have gotten off entirely. He could have been convicted and then sentenced by a judge. He chose to accept the plea, knowing he'll be free and clear in about 20 months.

    I totally agree that the laws are dumb, and what Plaxico did doesn't nearly reach the level of Vick or Stallworth. In Vick's case, he did time, like he should have. In Stallworth's case, paying off the victims got him an exceptionally fortunate deal.

    I definitely agree PB should not have to spend 20 months in jail. It's utterly ridiculous. But again, I feel the need to remind everyone that NO JUDGE DECIDED to sentence him to two years. It was offered, and PLAX DECIDED to accept the two years. It was totally his call.

  5. and1grad says:

    Thank you! Its driving me crazy that so few people seem to notice these injustices and actually have a problem with it. Yes, Plax was dumb and made a number of mistakes. Why cant people take a step past THAT piece of obviousness and look at the way he's been HANDLED & whether or not JUSTICE is being served to the public? And make no mistake, the average Joe would NOT have gotten that sentence. The Mayor stepped in and impressed upon the prosecution to make an example out of him.

    Also, for the sake of argument, you can make the case that had Burress not said anything at all, there would be next to no case against him. Thats part of why lawyers always advise people to NEVER say anything to the police b/c they'll use it to hang you.

  6. It's almost making a point for the sake of making a point.

    So, bad news for all of you who bring an unlicensed gun into an establishment and accidentally shoot yourself. New York City will not tolerate your tomfoolery anymore.

  7. SamBrooklyn says:

    I agree with NFL Chick on this one. Plaxico should have practiced better judgment and not carried the gun at all. Or, maybe he should have taken the extra step of having it licensed in the state in which he chose to own it; this is all on him.

    You make some valid points in stating that the legal system is out of wack—there are some gross inequities in how people are sentenced for varying crimes.

    That said, however, if people wouldn't commit stupid crimes in the first place, there would be no threat of them receiving unfair punishments.

    Another thing, people need to stop comparing Vick and Plaxico. Vick's sentencing had more to do with the severity of his crimes on a federal level than on a state level. Vick lied to federal prosecutors, Vick funded an illegal enterprise, Vick was a major part of an illegal gambling ring, etc…that's why he got his sentence.

    If Vick had just been a part of dogfighting, the State of Virginia may very well have let him off with a fine and community service.

    As for Donte Stallworth, well, he got away with a heinous crime. Again, there are gross inequities where crime and punishment are concerned.

    Getting back to Plax, though, his laziness, irresponsibility, and poor judgment finally caught up to him. For or not, this is his bed, he made this mess. Now, he has to face the consequences.

  8. Kali says:

    I would love to see some lawyer do a comparison between Plax’s crime and sentence against people in similar situations. That would probably show how he was made an example of.

  9. Streetdreamer says:

    Who is Plaxico Buress a danger to, that he needs to be taken from his family, locked up and imprisoned for 2 years in place of some real criminals? Whereas its ok to show up at town halls in an attempt to see the president with automatic weapons? The only distinction I see is licensing and if thats the case, that distinction shouldn't be worth 2 years in prison in a country where we have a national right to bear arms.

  10. Since he took a plea deal, he kind of brought it on himself. I agree with your points, especially on the Stallworth issue. I'm not sure if he would have been made an example of if he had gone to trial or accepted the much lesser punishment I read about months ago that he was offered.

    I must say though that I do hate when a superstar athlete has to be humbled in such a way, even if they had it coming. The justice system is broken, and needs to be fixed. Dare I say, consistency is very much needed throughout the justice/legal system.

  11. I tried to bring all points to the table. I didn't ignore the seriousness of what he did or that he could have taken an earlier plea. I brought all that to the table.

    My point is the punishment doesn't fit the crime and to me that is a big deal. Not just for Plax but for all of us who have to deal with the legal system

  12. skeptical at best says:

    Don't blame the legal system for the irresponsibility of a 32 year old, grown man. NYC has to do what it needs to in order to cut down on violent crimes in the city. There's a difference b/w a mistake and irresponsibility. He was irresponsible so he has to pay the penalty.

  13. Rembrandt says:

    Disagree, once again you're jumping to defend someone based upon their race and status. He should have kept his silly ass in the house with his wife if he felt it was that serious. I know people who have been robbed and not decided maybe I should carry a gun with me. The logic behind that is faulty. Then you say a license that may or may not be expired, which one is it, and it is in the wrong state. He knows that doesn't carry over. He should have done it the right way or hired someone to be a bodyguard. They have companies for that. I have no problem with the statement because someone in his position is going to be held to a higher standard. It's something that goes along with celebrity. If you don't like it, be an accountant or salesman where you won't get the notoriety. See you in 2 Plax.

  14. ephman says:

    so there's denying plaxico is dumb. but is he the dumbest athlete of all time. well he might actually be. ephman was inspired by this idiot today to put together <a
    href="http://www.ephman.com/blog/top-10-official-greatest-dumbest-athletes-all-time">The
    Top 10 Official Greatest Dumbest Athletes Of All Time there are really a bunch of dumb athletes out there.

  15. LaMont Chappell says:

    I do not disagree with the article, but I remember several years ago when P. Diddy was accused of a couple felonies involving a shooting in an NYC nightclub. NYC does not play when it comes to shooting up a club. I think Shyne is still in jail for it. Diddy spared no expense for Johnnie Cochran and other high priced lawyers because if he were guilty, he would have to serve serious time.

    Plaxico had no real defense so he could not get off easy. NYC has a thriving nightlife so they have to be tough on anyone who takes an unregistered gun into such a social atmosphere. That is why NYC is rated #1 safest big city in America.

  16. Jacob says:

    I think you're missing a very obvious point to the sentence. There is a minimum mandatory sentence for this crime. He got off very easy all things considered. The same would be if you had a joint in Louisiana and got pulled over. 5 years minimum mandatory sentence. Sure its harsh, but its the reality of the law. Plaxico has money, so hire bodyguards if you need protection. Who cares how much money he makes or how high profile he is. If this were some joe-blow, he'd have poor representation and would get the full sentence, so Plaxico got off extremely light. He just lost an opportunity to make millions of dollars in the next few years due to his own stupidity. Its not that difficult to live a straight and clean life, yet these guys show us time and again they are not prepared to make intelligent decisions based upon their current situation and future. Let him rot like anyone else would.

  17. Abdul says:

    I do not have a problem with the punishment handed down to Plax. This is a man who made one of the most stupid decisions I have ever seen. I hear that his former teammate Steve Smith was robbed like a week before. I don't care about that. Plax was a decade or so into his NFL career. He came off a SB winning season. Two months before this incident, he signed a lucrative contract extension with a boatload of guaranteed money. He is married and he is a father. Those things needed to be thought about before going to a nightclub strapped. He put the hammer in the hands of the authorities and they did with him as they wished. If he didn't go to a nightclub packing heat, he would still be an active NFL player. Instead, he is going to jail for 20 months and he'll have a lot of time to think about the dumb decisions he has made. There is a little something called personal responsibility. Plax is not being made out to be an example. If anything, he made an example out of himself. The police didn't set him up. They didn't plant a gun on his person to wrongfully charge him with unlawful possession of a firearm. He did this. He did this to himself.

  18. firearms says:

    With this current congress and president you better get all your gun licenses ASAP before they take all our rights away.

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