Monday, June 13, 2011
Burress speaks out against gun violence
By Dan Graziano
Busy day for Plaxico Burress, who held a news conference to announce his new affiliation with the National Urban League and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. He stood up at a podium next to Tony Dungy and said he spent some of his 20 months in prison thinking, "How can people learn from what happened to me?"
This is a guy saying all the right things, which is what you'd expect him to be a week after getting out of prison with hopes of returning to the NFL. And he appears to have the right people around him, especially in Dungy, who was a key mentor to the post-prison Michael Vick. Remember, Vick's crimes were far more heinous, evil and calculated than was Burress' accidental (yet knuckleheaded) firing of an unlicensed gun in a New York City nightclub. Burress the human being might well need less rehabilitation than did Vick.
Doing and saying all the right things, working and standing with Dungy, and talking to kids about the silly and unnecessary dangers that guns present will help Burress get his next job. There's no doubt some team will take a chance on him, and whichever team that is will be able to justify the signing of a questionable character by pointing to all this stuff he's doing in the meantime.
But what will decide Burress in the long run is the way he acts after he gets that chance. How well he handles the success or failure that follows him in his next NFL stop. If he's saying and doing the right things just to maximize his chances of playing football again, we'll all find out soon enough. If he's going to keep going around and preaching the dangers of gun violence, it really won't matter how well he does on the football field -- something good will have come out of his idiocy and the punishment he received for it. We're months, maybe years, away from finding out which it's going to be.