Keidel: Burress Is A Free Man; Give It A Go, Plaxico

By Jason Keidel
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Please indulge an ignorant sportswriter for a moment while he leaves his element, the reservation, and wades the toxic waters of anthropology…

Leonard Little, a linebacker for the St. Louis Rams, killed a woman with his car while his blood bubbled with an alcohol content of 0.19, double the legal limit. He spent 90 days in jail.

Donte’ Stallworth, a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, drove while under the influence and killed a construction worker .He spent 30 days in jail.

Listen: Jason Keidel discusses Plaxico Burress with Lori Rubinson

Plaxico Burress entered a nightclub with a gun stuffed under his pants, accidentally shot himself in the leg, and spent 20 months in prison.

Two dead people, 4 months. An injured groin, 20 months.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s jihad against Burress ended in a conviction that serves only as a swath of self-gratification for a billionaire-turned-bureaucrat who dispenses morality from a mansion. Now he can focus on arresting smokers in Central Park, another crime wave of medieval brutality.

This isn’t an argument for a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. I merely try to italicize the hypocrisy of sports and society, how the privilege of stardom, normally a shield from the justice and jurisprudence worked in the reverse for Burress. His fame, in this case, was his crucifix. Burress wasn’t convicted for a criminal deed as much as for violating the senses of the anointed. Burress was simply at the wrong end of the mayor’s ideological sword.

Around the time of the incident, a former federal prosecutor called Mike Francesa’s show and said this was the worst travesty of justice he had ever seen, declaring that the average citizen with no prior felonies (Burress had none) would do six months in jail and 5 years of probation. He spent 15 minutes lamenting the duplicity forced upon Burress – and he’s a prosecutor!

To be fair, this case ripples with clashing victories. Burress, who has a legendary disdain for rules, was a nuisance for the Steelers and Giants, but he was allowed to play because of his singular gift for catching footballs that cornerbacks can’t. So, in a sense, it’s fitting that he finally learns that someday the wrong rule would apply to him.

Theories about potential teams for Burress will swarm the Web. His agent, the gaseous Drew Rosenhaus, says a conga line of legitimate offers await Burress once he officially becomes a free man today. Since there’s no league at the moment, we take Drew’s words with a half-grain of salt.

You’re used to my columns by now, where I wield words against the moronic ways of the wayward jock, the pampered, entitled athlete who sees team rules and town laws as more pliable than his blessed limbs.

Not in this case. I’m rooting for Plaxico Burress. Not because my beloved Steelers drafted him. Not because he helped your Giants beat the despised Patriots – the least likeable team (after the Red Sox) on Earth.

I’m rooting for him because Burress publicly and privately paid for a crime with no victim. If being an idiot were illegal, he should face the gas chamber. But common sense (or lack thereof) isn’t legislated unless it harms others. Did Burress deserve a suspension? Clearly. Did the Giants have the right to fire him, shred his contract? It would seem so. Did he deserve hard prison time and no chance to change teams, towns, and terms? It is entirely subjective, but you know my take.

I feel your fingers pounding the keyboard, ready to drown me in mitigating circumstances regarding the aforementioned cases of vehicular manslaughter and such. I’m not here to try those cases, nor am I telling you that those men deserved decades in a penitentiary. I merely wonder why they skated while Burress was fated and fitted for an orange jumpsuit, while his prime floated off like all those purple sunsets he missed while he stewed in his cell. Don’t you?

Plaxico Burress is a fool. It’s understandable that an employer doesn’t want him as an employee. It’s unacceptable that he hangs at the leisure of elitists.

Feel free to email me:

Did Plax’s punishment fit the crime? Fire away in the comments below…

  • Kurt Spitzner


    • Kurt Spitzner

      SEE WHAT I MEAN JK!!!!!!!


    If there is no NFL this year, maybe vick and burress can start their own league, called the FNL. “FELONY NATIONAL LEAGUE”Now that weiner will be looking for a new job, make him their massage man!

  • dachmuse

    As a native New Yorker, I’m sick and tired of schmucky billionaires who think they know what’s best for everyone, whether their names are Trump or Bloomberg. Especially one that spends a great deal of his time on some Island in the Caribbean.

    If that SOB really cared so much about this city and it’s well being, he’d spend more time fixing it from the ground up, instead of being a doormat for his real estate developed buddies uglyfying it from the top floor down, with preposterous high rise dwellings for your pals and hideous Duane Reades and skanky banks on every corner. Hey Mr. Mayor, why not try and get the MTA running on time for a change? Maybe you can extend term limits for another 4 years…?

    Plax, perhaps is an idiot, but some of us are bigger idiots for just going with the flow…

    • dachmuse

      Forgive me Señor Keidel, the real estate “developed” buddies was supposed to read “developer” and the “your pals” was not intended to reference anyone you know but actually “his pals”…

      Sorry for the rant, but you touched on something I more than wholeheartedly agree with – how this Mayor loves to go after the little guy, from the frivolous ticketing of the common man, trying to eke out a living, to the smokers; whereas the true scofflaws, the ones that steal millions even billions, walk away scott free.

      Not that Plax is the average guy…

      • JK

        I couldn’t agree more, Dach. It’s important that I stay in my vocational lane (sports) but occasionally the actions of a politician bleed into my realm. This is such a case and I had to vent. Frankly, I thought I’d be bashed for my stance, yet the response has been overwhelmingly favorable.

  • Michael

    Hell no. The man discharged a weapon into his own flesh! If anything, he should be placed in a institution for the mentally unstable. Others kill and walk. Plax pumps iron into his own thigh and gets an education from the hardest street thugs on the planet: those in jail. Like putting an alcholic to work at Beverages and More.

  • amanda

    Steve he sure was

  • Walt Gekko


    I understand.

    Personally, I think Plaxico should NOT have gotten that big of a sentence, but the time he did it came right when there was about to be an election for a new DA, and the last thing Robert Morganthau wanted to do was give Plaxico a light sentence that would have caused problems for Cyrus Vance, Jr. (again, the man Morganthau hand-picked to succeed him) against Leslie Crocker Snyder. Ms. Synder would have almost certainly used Plaxico getting a six month sentence in a plea deal against Vance very heavily in ad campaigns leading up to the election for DA.

    • JK

      I didn’t consider that. Thanks for the knowledge, Walt. I never considered Morganthau because he was leaving his post. So, semantics aside, we all agree that Plax was at least slightly shafted. A quintessential case of wrong place, wrong time, on myriad levels.

  • amanda

    You got problems if ya gonna compare dog fighting to shooting ones self! So different sides of the fields

  • Peter

    He looks like a real homeboy !!!! with the straight lid !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Peter

    Funny thing is do you think he learned his lesson or will this happen again.

    • JK

      I say it doesn’t happen again. It’s not like he went to the club intending to shoot anyone, much less himself. What do you think?

  • E. Manning

    Not surprising, Plax even looks like a gangsta as he emerges from the slammer! Complete w/ black hoodie over a Phillies hat, shades, and ankle-length shorts. Keep his cot warm, he’ll be back.

  • brooklyn4ever

    Yeah, send him to Philadelphia and they can change the team’s name from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Philadelphia Phelons. Birds of a feather phlock together!

    • JK

      But I wouldn’t compare his crime to Vick’s. Would you?

  • amanda

    Thanks guys I figured I’d be getting hated on and all ! I agree with everyone of yall! I honestly think this man suffered more punishment by embarrassment than sitting in that cell!

    • JK

      And thank you, Amanda. No doubt he deserved to stay after school, even summer school, but not left back two grades.

  • Ralph

    You could not have echoed my feeling any better. Politics aside I usually like Bloomberg but why he felt the need to get involved was infuriating. I will miss Plax as a giant and I cringe as I say this but even if he goes to Philly I will still be rooting for him. He got a raw deal for being an idiot but he was a very good Giant and he delivered a ring!

    • JK

      Agreed, Ralph. And thank you. Another time, another mayor, and Burress does six months.

  • alex

    I will not blast you either…The two other cases of football players actually killing people proves your point..Big Bad Bloomberg was just looking for a celebrity to nail to the cross.

    • Walt Gekko

      Regardless of whether or not Bloomberg wanted a conviction and full sentence, he likely would have anyway because of a law in New York State that requires a mandatory sentence.

      If not from before, I believe the sentence Plaxico served was put in to prevent a repeat of what happened with Bernard Goetz (for those too young to know or remember, Goetz shot four youths he thought were going to rob him on a New York City Subway train just days before Christmas in 1984). Forget Bloomberg, if Robert Morganthau (who was about to retire as DA) had not gone for the sentence Plaxico got, Morganthau’s hand-picked successor, Cyrus Vance Jr. would have have a massive fight on his hands to succeed Morganthau as Vance’s opponent, Leslie Crocker Snyder would have used that in an ad campaign against Vance.

      There definitely were politics involved, but there also was a mandatory law in play, and if Plaxico had gotten a lighter sentence, there would have been major uproars in a lot of other places of an athlete getting special treatment. That’s why Plaxico got the sentence he go as opposed to Donta Stallworth and Leonard Little, who both actually killed people in drunk driving.

      • Eric

        Actually Walt, a plea to a attempted Criminal possession of a weapon in the 3rd degree, a lesser charge, with a 6 month split (6 months jail and 5 yrs probation), was routine for similarly situated defendants before the Plax case. Here, the prosecutors decided not to offer a plea, and insisted on the top count which does carry the mandatory minimum upon conviction. The policy decision here was to refuse to make what had previously been the customary plea offer. This decision was apparently made simply because Plaxico’s status as a celebrity provided Bloomberg an opportunity to trumpet his anti-gun agenda.

      • JK

        Exactly, Eric. This was not about letter of the law, but rather a celebratory beheading of a celebrity. Though I respect your view, Walt, I’m with Eric on this.

    • JK

      Wow. Thanks, alex. Indeed, Bloomberg made it clear he wanted to make an example of Plaxico. So much for blind justice.

  • amanda

    I totally agree those who hurt others def deserved stronger terms than someone who hurts only him self! I hope the lock out works in his favor and hes able to play again soon!

    • JK

      Thank you, Amanda. I assumed I’d be blasted for defending Burress. Thanks again.

      • Steve

        Amanda and JK – I agree with you.

        With respect to the reporter, Jason Keidel is “right on the money!”

    • JK

      I appreciate that, Steve. But I hope you realize that JK = Jason Keidel. We are one and the same. Heh. Thanks to all for reading and responding. Good, intelligent dialogue is always welcome, even when we disagree.

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