Posted by Mike Florio on June 16, 2011, 2:33 PM EDT
Former Steelers and Giants receiver Plaxico Burress continues to make the media rounds. Most recently, he appeared on Good Day New York — and he discussed once again the very bad night that culminated in his incarceration.
“I believe it was totally blown out of proportion,” Burress said, per the New York Post. “I believe with everything that was said by the mayor and the media . . . that it was just over-generalized and I think it went a little further than it needed to go. But at the same time, I was accountable for my actions.”
Burress is referring to his decision to take a loaded gun into a Manhattan nightclub, and the inadvertent firing of the weapon. It easily can be argued that the punishment didn’t fit the crime, since the bullet struck no one other than Burress. But it also can be argued that the goal of the law that put Burress, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it, “in the slammer” for an extended stretch has a goal of ensuring that accidents don’t happen.
Still, the fact that Burress did roughly the same amount of time as Mike Vick even though Vick admitted to gambling, dogfighting, and the killing of dogs deemed unfit to die while fighting other dogs, it’s easy to conclude that Burress got the short end of the legal stick.
I am a firm believer of forgiveness, second chances, and that people can change. I also agree that compared to Mike Vick, Plax got it worse. However, the justice system (while flawed) is not supposed to determine legal cases based on other crimes, or moments of intense stupidity.
My issue here is two fold. First, when I hear the response by Plaxico I have to wonder if he actually learned anything. Is he remorseful? Does he realize that he made a bad choice? Does he truly feel responsible? Or is he saying he is responsible, because he was caught?
Yes, we all know that Plax blasted himself, but what if he didn't? What if that gun misfired and hit someone else. What if that person died or was severely injured? Then this whole situation is different. I know our justice system isn't about what people might have done, or almost happened. I get that. I am not saying Plax should be punished according to what damage he could have inflicted, or a crime he almost committed.
I just hope that he is truly taking responsibility for a stupid choice, that fortunately for him, actually could have turned out far, far worse.