Maybe the joke about the NFL star who accidentally shot himself at a nightclub would be funny another weekend.
But Plaxico Burress picked the wrong time to be the butt of bar-room stories.
“He called me laughing and grinning,” Burress’ New York Giants teammate Brandon Jacobs told reporters after their 23-7 victory against Washington Sunday.
“He is doing fine. He is feeling good. I called him and made a few jokes about the situation and he laughed, which is what I wanted to hear.”
Comedy is all about timing.
And this joke could not have come during a more inappropriate moment.
Plaxico shot himself just a day after the one-year anniversary of Sean Taylor’s death. The bullet hit him inches away from the same spot his right thigh that killed Sean.
By a strange twist of fate, it happened on the same weekend the Giants and Washington Redskins were set to play.
Of course, neither Sean nor Plaxico were on the field Sunday. But for very different reasons.
Taylor died protecting his family from a home invasion.
Burress, who was already sidelined for the game by injury, shot himself jamming to Lil’ Wayne songs at a club.
I realize Burress probably wasn’t thinking about the deeper meaning of this weekend when the bullet struck. But if he had any compassion, it would have crossed his mind at some point.
It’s more than inappropriate to laugh about such matters. It’s disrespectful to all the victims, unlike Burress, who did not get second chances.
Taylor’s daughter will never know her father. Rosalind Williams, mother of slain Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, lost a son. Richard Collier, also the victim of a shooting, lost a leg and will never play football again.
Home invasions, stabbings and shootings are sadly becoming commonplace stories in today’s archetype of the tragic sports hero. We live in an increasingly violent world with inexplicable tragedies. So the violence brought on oneself because of ignorant choices is offensive. Not laughable.
Judging by Burress’ behavior in the past 10 months, he was bound to end up in handcuffs.
He repeatedly rejected authority by ignoring team and league rules. He has paid fines amounting to the price of a suburban home. His wife had filed for two restraining orders against him that were dismissed by a state court.
He said he missed a team meeting because he had to take his son to school. This would have been a halfway decent excuse if Plaxico didn’t have such a lame track record of stupidity.
Think about it this way, he almost ceded $35 million last weekend in a matter of seconds.
I personally don’t have an issue with athletes going to clubs. But if that particular environment calls for you to bring an AK-47, a bodyguard and a militia, then I recommend a quiet night at home. There is no reason to lose your life or cause harm to someone else over an apple martini and a couple dance tracks.
There are few industries that allow a person to generate enough wealth for two generations in a matter of a few years. Why would you not do everything to protect your future?
Burress’ days of being an NFL star are certainly numbered. But he has another chance to be a better man. And if pending success or failure in life isn’t motivation enough, then think about Sean.
Think about Darrent.
Think about Richard.
Think about all the chances they never got and the one you so fortunately have.