Plaxico Burress Shooting: Cue the Hypocrites
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Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week: all Plaxico, all the time. There's nothing like an NFL player shooting a hole in his own leg in a packed nightclub to become our latest walking, talking weapon of mass distraction. Why ponder the global economic meltdown, two wars, and rising unemployment, when millionaire black athletes like Plaxico Burress walk among us ... with guns?
Don't think that this is a defense of the New York Giants star wide receiver. Having a loaded gun in your pants, with no safety, in a crowded club, is about as smart as using a toaster as a bathtub toy. In fact, shooting yourself in the leg is really one of more preferable outcomes. Now Burress faces three and a half years in prison for carrying a loaded handgun in the city.
Right on cue, the moralists are slithering onto their soapboxes to hiss at the latest athletic bogeyman. Hypocrisy reigns supreme.
There's the now-suspended emergency room physician at New York Cornell Hospital, who was persuaded to treat Burress under a phony name and failed to notify the authorities of the shooting incident as state law requires.
There's the New York Giants organization: New York police officials say the Giants let at least ten hours elapse before reporting the shooting. What were they thinking -- that the cops wouldn't notice the wall-to-wall coverage on TV?
Next, the Giants self-righteously suspended Burress for the rest of the season "for conduct detrimental to the team" -- easy to do when Burress has played next to no role for the first-place team. Suspending Burress is easy. They even did it earlier this season. But there is no talk of suspending Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, who was with Burress that evening, drove him to the hospital and is alleged to have hidden the weapon from police. He was set to explain to police today exactly why he didn't report the shooting either. But Pierce is also an indispensable cog in the team. Suspend Pierce? That might affect their Super Bowl chances.
There's former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who has made a call for all NFL players with handguns to be suspended without delay. Ditka, who calls himself an "ultra-ultra conservative" and hosted rallies this fall for Sarah Palin, clearly finds the Second Amendment expendable when exercised by these ungrateful ... athletes. Here are his comments to ESPN:
"This is all about priorities. When you get stature in life, you get the kind of contract, you have an obligation and responsibility to your teammates, to the organization, to the National Football League and to the fans. He just flaunted this money in their face. He has no respect for anybody but himself. I feel sorry for him, in the sense that, I don't understand the league, why can anybody have a gun? I will have a policy, no guns, any NFL players we find out, period, you're suspended."
But no one is deserving of more scorn than New York City Mayor-for-Life Michael Bloomberg, who excoriated Burress for violating city gun laws. On Monday, Bloomberg seemed to channel Vincent Bugliosi: "Our children are getting killed with guns in the street. Our police are getting killed. If we don't prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law, I don't know who on earth would. It makes a sham, a mockery of the law. And it's pretty hard to argue the guy didn't have a gun and that it wasn't loaded. You've got bullet holes in and out to show that it was there."