Plaxico Burress went from catching what was ultimately the game winning TD catch in one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets of all time to being sentenced to prison for shooting himself in the leg in a Manhattan nightclub the following November.
10 months later, in September of 2009, Burress began his two year prison sentence which cost him the majority of the new $35 million contract he signed shortly before the now infamous nightclub incident. The New York Daily News has reported that Burress will shave 3 months off his sentence as he will be “conditionally released” on June 6th.
Burress requested and was denied early release and work release various times, but he is now eligible for conditional release after serving 6/7 of his sentence. Despite missing two full NFL seasons, his agent has indicated that at least two teams are interested in signing him for the upcoming season. Obviously, it’s his agent, so you never really know how much truth lies within agent released statements, but I would bet that multiple teams are interested in Burress.
Even though he will be 34 years old and has missed 2 full seasons, he is still 6’5″, 235 pounds and he can still make a huge difference in the NFL. While he will undoubtedly only obtain a short term (probably 1 year), heavily incentive laden contract, he will still have multiple teams from which to choose.
Just a few short years ago Plaxico Burress was one of the heroes of the Super Bowl as he played a key role in helping the New York Football Giants derail the Patriots’ pursuit of perfection. As we know, Plaxico then had the unfortunate situation whereby he shot himself in the leg at a night club. Due to New York City’s strict gun laws, the star WR has been spending his time in prison.
According to reports by TMZ, Plaxico has “full TV privileges” and will be able to watch the Super Bowl in prison. Not a bad perk for inmates… I wonder if those inmates would be able to watch the Super Bowl if it wasn’t Plaxico Burress locked up along side them or if this is some special perk.
Roger Goodell has made a name for himself and has continually preached honor, integrity, discipline, consistency, and protecting the shield among other mantras since taking over for Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. For the most part, he’s been a very good commissioner, but his actions as of late are a complete embarrassment for the NFL that he aims to protect on a daily basis.
By now we’re familiar with Goodell’s attempt to clean up the league and to take the NFL’s personal conduct policy to a whole new level disciplining the likes of Plaxico Burress, Adam (Pacman) Jones, Tank Johnson, Chris Henry, Ben Roethlisberger and others. He has made it clear that whether convicted of a crime or not, the mere appearance of embarrassing and/or inappropriate behavior can lead to fines and/or suspensions for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
In addition, he has taken a strong stance on the NFL’s “Defenseless Player” rules in an attempt to curb catastrophic head and neck injuries. So much so, that he’s levied enormous fines toward the likes of James Harrison for plays that occurred in the field of play while issuing minor fines to players like Richard Seymour who took a blatant cheap shot to the head of Ben Roethlisberger after the whistle.
But that’s not even in the same stratosphere of the hypocrisy, unprofessionalism, and flat out fraudulent behavior that the Commissioner may have taken part in over the past few months. As we know, allegations about Brett Favre’s “sexting” scandal with then New York Jets employee, and temptress, Jen Sterger came to light in August of this year (there is also reason to believe that Sterger actually spoke of this in February of 09). The League Office didn’t even acknowledge it until the story picked up steam in October of this year.
For a league that wants to so proactively “protect the shield” and fairly and consistently apply the personal conduct policy, wouldn’t you think they would’ve wanted to carry out their own investigation BEFORE the national media caught wind of this? I don’t buy for one second that they weren’t at least aware of the whispers prior to October. If that weren’t bad enough, the NFL began their own investigation sometime in October and as I write this, it’s December 16th and the NFL has failed to issue a ruling of any kind. The NFL has tremendous resources and I find it hard to believe that it could take 2-3 months for them to gather information and sit down with all parties involved. Keep in mind that Sterger actually sat down with the NFL a little less than a month ago today.
Roger Goodell received the NFL’s final report on the matter last week and has yet to render his decision. I can’t say that I know the league’s process for it’s investigation and issuance of the report and I don’t know what the Commissioner’s role and responsibilities are as it relates to reviewing the report and issuing a ruling. But I can say that for such a critical issue, it’s an embarrassment that it takes the Commissioner a week to review the report and render his decision. And that’s IF you believe that it’s legitimately taking this long to work through the process.
It’s a bit shady to me that not only was the investigation dragged out for months after the matter had been ignored for months, if not years, but the decision is also being delayed. It’s entirely possible and even plausible that Goodell allowed the investigation to drag on as long as possible so as to avoid potentially suspending Favre during the season and ending the precious streak.
I know, some apologists will say that the investigation actually took this long and it has nothing to do with Favre or his streak. Do not be naive. There are just too many coincidences, and the timing is too suspect, for this to be legit as far as I’m concerned. The NFL ignored the problem until they were forced into action. The investigation coincidentally concluded AFTER Favre’s streak was already over (or close enough to the end that the NFL had reason to believe that it was over). Goodell’s decision was coincidentally delayed until AFTER the streak ended. I won’t be surprised at all if there is no punishment issued at all, but if it is, I hope everyone sees through it for what it really is. Any punishment at this point would be disingenuous, dishonest, and a complete joke as we all know Favre isn’t coming back next year and he definitely wouldn’t come back if there were discipline in place.
I believe that the NFL’s investigation turned up enough information to prove that Favre violated the personal conduct policy (if not the Jet’s sexual harassment policy) and he delayed his decision until Favre was done for the year. I predict that Goodell will finally come out and say that no punishment will be issued to Favre but it wouldn’t surprise me if it occurred after a private conversation with him. Is it possible that in exchange for not publicly disciplining the hall of famer, Favre will agree to finally retire so it won’t become an issue? Honestly, what is the point of handing down discipline or details of any kind at this point? Favre is done, he won’t be playing anymore and a fine or suspension at this point would be asinine and it would bring more embarrassment to the league.
If Goodell were going to take any action he should have done it weeks, if not months ago. We’ll never know for sure, but it ‘s likely that the NFL covered up and delayed this to protect Favre as much as possible and until he could ride off into the sunset. And coming from Goodell, who has been a complete hardass toward other players, it sickens me to see it. If this actually happened this way, it’s the most egregious and despicable cover up that we may ever see in professional sports.
Goodell promised that his decision would come this week and I’ll be curious to see what discipline, if any, is handed out and what specific language is used by Goodell or the league office. I love the NFL and I honestly hope that I’m wrong and this is all one big coincidence. But given the way Favre has been coddled and canonized for years, I’ll be surprised if I’m wrong.