Plaxico Burress

What Do I Think of Success? It Sucks

Jose Vilson Jose 11 Comments

Plaxico Burress

Plaxico Burress

The bad news is that Plaxico Burress, wide reciever for the New York Giants, shot himself in the leg, and thoroughly embarassed himself, Antonio Pierce, and anyone else who accompanied him at Latin Quarters. The worse news is that this happened just about a year after Sean Taylor, free safety who last played for the Washington Redskins, was murdered in his own home, and also 2 years after Darrent Williams, former cornerback for the Denver Broncos, was shot in a drive-by shooting in front of a holiday party. Yet, anyone like me has to be wondering whether these 2 earlier deaths made it possible for Plaxico to get into this situation to begin with.

If I’m in the mind of Plaxico Burress, I actually might consider having a gun for protection. Then again, and in all sincerity, I can’t understanding having the issues he has. I haven’t walked an inch in his cleats. For athletes making millions of dollars, they’re certainly not in the danger that, say, their owners or general managers are. They’re constantly expected to be in the public eye, and some of them do it gracefully, but other athletes, especially with the dynamic personalities of the “star athletes,” always see themselves as a little closer to the heavens and put themselves in much riskier behaviors because of what’s been given to them.

Right about now, yes, you should be thinking that I’m being a little too nice to Plax, as I am a self-professed Giants fan. But whenever I need a real-life version of the men who were once boys, I turn directly to my students, the little thugs who profess their cogency by throwing up pseudo-gang signs, bobbing their nappy heads to some non-sensical rap song, and hogging the ball, some of it is selfishness, but it’s more that they really need attention and love. They’re hyper-sensitive to a fault and don’t have any other way to express that. And frankly, even the ones with a “reputation” are usually idiot savants, not malicious malcontents.

And that was all but evident when Plaxico Burress, the wide receiver who left Pittsburgh so ungraciously, caught the game winning touchdown at the Super Bowl and only a few minutes later cried his eyes out aon the field, hardly able to get a word out before he burst into another round of tears. Tears that worked better than a “I told you so.”

That makes me wonder if people take the time to look behind the story.

Yes, it was dumb. Beyond belief.

Yes, he could have just gotten a bodyguard.

Yes, he didn’t even have to go as he was already injured.

But now New York, and America for that matter, is inundated with another big story about a Black man and a gun, and a mayor calling for his head, etc. This is more than a Cheddar Bob joke or a “Giant Idiot.” This is a man in need of some serious help. Hope the time off he gets will do him some good.

Jose, who had to play Devil’s Advocate for a bit …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 11

  1. Tiffany

    Jose,

    I have to give it to you for providing a different perspective. There are things that Plax is going throught that I can’t event imagine. With that said, he still made a very stupid decision. If he felt the need to carry a gun to the venue he was attending, he probably should have reconsidered going.

  2. The Jaded NYer

    I admit, I did not take a moment to look at HIS side of the story and I applaud you for playing Devil’s Advocate because it made me stop and think and stop pointing so many fingers at Plaxico.

    Still- okay, you had the gun, you brought it out, you shot yourself… why the hustle to cover everything up so shady-like? I think that, more than anything else, is what will seal his fate.

    And remember- Mikey wants to be Mayor for another term; he’s gotta make muscle moves these days… it was just NOT a good time for Plaxico to pull this mess.

  3. Bluerebel327

    Jose.

    I understand all of that….but HOW do u actually shoot urself in the foot? Going above the fact that he felt a need to carry a gun….why not learn to use it? What about the safety on the gun? But then again, i guess even the best make this mistake.

  4. Steve

    How you shoot yourself in the leg is pretty easy – just do what Plaxo did. Stick a handgun in the waistline of whatever pants you’re wearing, feel it start to slide out, grab it and catch the trigger.

    @jaded: “…why the hustle to cover everything up so shady-like? ”
    Exactly because of what’s happening. NYC’s draconian and totally politicized carry laws make it necessary to live in fear of being able to defend yourself. If you don’t carry a weapon and you get assaulted, you die. If you do carry a weapon, use it to defend yourself, you may not die but you’ll go to prison and wish you were dead instead.

    Or, you can let the police protect you. By the time they get there, assuming someone called them, they’ll be able to canvas for witnesses as your body is being loaded into the ME’s wagon.

    Plaxo foolishly carried his weapon without a holster, and that is what precipitated this. Waistband holsters are readily available and much more secure than sticking a loaded weapon in your drawers. What if it had been pointed at leg #3?

  5. TSilver

    Spoken by a true educator! If parents paid more positive attention to their children during the early years, maybe their children wouldn’t attract such negative attention from the world as adults. As a teacher, I know first hand that the bulk of bad behavior is just a cry for love, attention or both. I imagine it must hurt to have those cries aired on camera…Plax was irresponsible to say the least, but I feel for him.

  6. mzvirgo

    I never really understood why athletes (and some rappers) are surrounded with all of this controversy. One would think; they are making millions of dollars doing what they love to do and yet and still, they make stupid choices. Why not just hire security to protect them?

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