x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Return will not be easy for Burress

Here, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with Plaxico Burress, the presently unemployed wide receiver who is facing three years in jail on gun charges resulting from shooting himself in the thigh last November in a Manhattan night club. He showed up 28 minutes late for a court appearance designed to cut him a break.

Here, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with Plaxico Burress, the presently unemployed wide receiver who is facing three years in jail on gun charges resulting from shooting himself in the thigh last November in a Manhattan night club. He showed up 28 minutes late for a court appearance designed to cut him a break. Burress is lucky stupidity and arrogance are not felonies or he would be facing life. Here is a guy paid more than US$4million (Dh14.6m) a year to play wide receiver for the New York Giants who feels he cannot go out without stuffing a handgun not legally registered in the state of New York down his trousers. He also apparently couldn't sit on a sofa without nearly blowing off his private parts, either.

The Giants suspended him for the final four games last season after the Nov 29 shooting incident, a move that cost him more than $1m. Their team went into a tailspin and the mayor of New York called for his head because of a new gun law that states if a gun in New York is not registered in New York it is an illegal handgun. Plaxico's defence? Registered it in Florida, dude. This is a guy fined nearly 50 times by Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin for being late before he was dumped after accidentally shooting himself.

It was a bigger accident no one else got shot yet his lawyer got the charges continued without a finding, meaning he cannot be indicted until at least Sept 23. That is well into the NFL season and with no trial likely before next spring Burress figures he will soon be playing ball again. The New York Jets, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all interested in him. Unfortunately for Burress, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is interested in a gun-slinging wide receiver who shoots himself in public.

Burress' lawyer, Benjamin Brofman, may have found a way to stall off the charges against his client but holding off Goodell, who has made a habit of slapping around players for poor conduct, may not be so simple. Brofman said he expected his client to play the full season even if he is indicted. He argued there was "no legal basis for preventing him from playing football". Oh, no? How about this basis: the NFL's personal conduct policy states "while persons who engage in criminal activity will be subject to discipline, the standard of conduct for persons employed in the NFL is considerably higher".

Burress seems to think he is above all this. He has won two grievances against the Giants to get a part of his lost salary back, allegedly turned down a plea bargain that would have reduced his sentence to three months if he pleaded guilty and firmly believes there are teams lining up to hire him and no court or commissioner can stand in the way. A prominent New York defence lawyer, Ikiesha Al Shabazz, was quoted on Burress' case being continued as saying, "This doesn't happen for anybody who is a non- celebrity, I'll tell you that."

True but you have to think this may still not work out for Plaxico. Just last week ex-Giants' quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said this about his former teammate: "I played with the guy. I was in the locker room with him for two years. He's a disaster as a teammate. He's a disaster as a guy that you have to coach. What do I mean by that? If you want to wait for a guy to show up for meetings, if you want to have to beg a guy to run full speed in practice, if you want a guy that would disappear in games because he doesn't get the ball early - then, look, Plaxico Burress is your guy."

That's from someone who knows Burress better than Goodell or Judge Felicia Mennin or attorney Brofman ever will. Doesn't sound like a good hire to me. @Email:rborges@thenational.ae