Plaxico Burress messed up big time. But the media's overreaction to his incident has been just as bad.
For the whole last week, the sports world and the New York media have been crucifying Plaxico Burress. In a city where Wall St. CEOs have run the city into the dirt, gangbangers kill kids everyday, the educational system is falling apart the New York media has made it seem as if Plaxico Burress was the biggest villain in New York.
No doubt Burress was stupid for he did and it was technically illegal, but was Burress wrong or immoral for carrying a gun? His teammate Steve Smith was recently robbed at gunpoint; one year earlier, Washington Redskin, Sean Taylor was killed in a home invasion. NBA-er Sebastian Telfair was robbed of his Jewelry at gunpoint and the Celtics' Paul Pierce was stabbed 8 years ago in club in Boston. Broncos cornerback, Darrent Williams was shot and killed outside a Denver nightclub while riding in his limousine in 2007 and Oakland receiver Javon Walker was beaten unconscious in Las Vegas in June.
He was definitely stupid and clumsy for shooting himself but that's not the crime he was charged with. He was charged with carrying an unlicensed fire arm.
Why didn't he have a license you ask? He was licensed to carry a weapon in Florida, but very few people have a license to carry a concealed firearm in New York. New York is very selective on who it issues gun licenses to. It seem as if all the people in New York are rich, famous and white. Some of the people licensed to carry firearms in New York are deejays Howard Stern and Don Imus, actors Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel, businessmen Donald Trump, his son Donald Junior, and Tommy Mottola and Senate Majority leader, Joe Bruno.
I couldn't find a record of one black person being licensed to carry a concealed firearm in New York City. Despite the large amount of black athletes, businessmen and entertainers who live in and frequent New York. Why don't black athletes and entertainers have permits to carry concealed weapons in New York? Don't they face the same threats as Stern and Imus? Is is that black people don't apply for gun permits or that the board who issues them is racist and doesn't give them to black people?
Why is Mike Bloomberg even wasting his time discussing one gun case in New York? It seems like Bloomberg and the New York media are trying to scapegoat Plaxico Burress for New York's gun problems.
It seems like the media, court system and politicians are always trying to make black athletes an example to solve problems they are not really addressing.
Jack Johnson became a scapegoat for miscegenation, Muhammed Ali became a scapegoat for draft-dodgers, Mike Tyson became a scapegoat for date rape, Darryl Strawberry for cocaine abuse, Ricky Williams for marijuana abuse, OJ Simpson for domestic abuse, Barry Bonds for steroids and Plaxico Burress for gun problems.
While prosecuting black athletes in the courtroom and the media, may make an example out of them, it rarely solves any problem. There is not a gun problem in New York because of black athletes carry weapons. There is gun problem because of poverty, drugs and the fact that guns are constantly brought from states like Virginia and sold illegally to people in the inner cities, often to minorities.
Bloomberg had confronted gun shops in Virginia before. Now that we have a more progressive government, a Democratic Senator from Virginia, maybe we can do something to get rid the out of state gun laws that flood our inner cities with guns.
Plaxico Burress is not a threat to society. He didn't have a gun because he was planning on shooting anybody. He just had a gun on him to protect himself in New York, just like Howard Stern, Don Imus and Robert De Niro in a city that doesn't give gun licenses to black people. Recent reports have said that 50% of all NFL athletes carry weapons. My old Columbia University Marcellus Wiley who played in the NFL for 10 years and is now a respected commentator for ESPN admitted that he carried a gun illegally throughout his NFL career.
Plaxico Burress deserves punishment under the law, but not the public outcry for his head that the New York media and its mayor have given him. Given his situation it is understandable if not justified for Burress to be carrying a gun. Making an example out of Plaxico would only put another black man in jail and do nothing to solve the gun problem in New York.