Colgate Around the Hill

Bill StoklosaMaroon-News Staff

While it is true that Plaxico Burress should have known the law in New York before he brought a loaded gun into a night club, in light of how other recent cases involving athletes have been settled, two years in prison for Plaxico’s crime seems ridiculous.

Look at what happened to Patrick Kane, of the Chicago Blackhawks, in Buffalo, New York. Kane and his cousin were charged with assaulting a cabby over 20 cents. The fact that a multi-millionaire athlete was arguing over 20 cents is bad enough (How about a tip?), but he allegedly assaulted someone. He was able to plea bargain down to an apology. Bills’ running back Marshawn Lynch hit a woman with his car and left the scene of an accident in Buffalo and ended up with a parking ticket and losing his license. Lynch later got busted for carrying an illegal weapon in California (a state like New York that has tough gun laws) in a car that smelled of marijuana. He cut another plea deal and received three years probation and 80 hours community service. Most notoriously is Donté Stallworth who went to prison for just 21 days after killing a man while driving drunk.

Should Plaxico have known better? Absolutely. Was his crime more severe than the four mentioned above. Absolutely not. Lynch for instance also had a weapons charge against him, less than a year after a hit and run, and got no jail time. Just think about it: Does it make sense for a first time offender to go to prison for two years just for shooting himself in the leg?

Mike McMasterSports Editor

On Tuesday, Adam “Pacman” Jones signed a one-year deal with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Back in New York, Plaxico Burress is preparing to serve out his two-year prison sentence. Jones has been arrested for violent crimes in the past, and prosecutors believe that his entourage was responsible for leaving a man paralyzed at an Atlanta night club. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg.

Did Plax break the law? Sure. But the only reason he is going to prison is that Mayor Mike Bloomberg decided that he needed to set an example. Someone should remind Bloomberg that he’s in mayor of New York, not Gotham. New York is not such a bad place, and Plax is not such a heinous criminal that his case deserved special attention. Plaxico’s sentence is a direct result of Bloomberg’s abuse of power.

Burress made a mistake, and he should have to pay the consequences. However, locking him up for two years does nothing to decrease violent gun crimes, and no one wins.

Rebecca SilbermanMaroon-News Staff

If Plaxico Burress’s two-year prison sentence was meant to be a punishment for shooting himself in the leg, than perhaps this punishment is a little extreme. Honestly, given the fact that Burress was suspended for the rest of the 2008 season (losing $823,529), was fined one week’s pay ($205,882), got shot, has been released from the New York Giants and has become the laughingstock of the sports world, a jail sentence of two years might be considered a little harsh. Unfortunately for Burress, he is not being sent to jail simply because he shot himself, but because he did so with an unregistered gun, making this argument entirely irrelevant. As explained in section 265.03 of the New York State Penal Code, a person is guilty of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, the charge for which Burress was brought to court, when they “possess a loaded firearm.” As it stands, Plaxico Burress should not see his prison sentence as a punishment for shooting himself in the leg. Rather it is a pointed reminder that next time, he should either register the gun or remember to put the safety on.

Gillian ScherzAssistant Sports Editor

Does Plaxico Burress deserve a two-year sentence? Yes. For shooting himself in the leg? No. Had he shot someone else, more punishment would be required in exchange for the damage he did to those around him. But I’m fairly certain the pain in his thigh undoubtedly taught him the lesson he deserves as far as gun placement goes.

However, while two years for shooting yourself sounds a bit ridiculous, the rest of the situation is not. Two years for unlicensed concealed carry of an unregistered weapon is probably enough. A fact that probably had nothing to do with the conviction but has everything to do with my opinion, however, is the location of this scene: a club. While I have no idea if he was intoxicated or not, the general intent of most people when going to a club is to become intoxicated. Personally, I really do not think it is ever safe to have alcohol and guns in the same vicinity, and that is the lesson to be learned here. Well, that and don’t shoot yourself.