Commentary

Don't hate on Plaxico, everybody

Burress has every right to be disappointed in Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and the Giants

Updated: September 10, 2011, 1:25 AM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

You can't blame Plaxico Burress for blasting his former coach and quarterback.

After all, Burress isn't blaming them for his woes -- a two-year prison sentence after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in November 2008 with an unlicensed gun in New York.

Instead, Burress is being honest about the lack of concern they had for him as a person. That's real. That's why fans shouldn't rush to just rip Plax for sharing his real feelings in the upcoming Men's Journal article about the former Giants wide receiver that's due out Sept. 16.

Burress, now a Jets wide receiver, was not happy with the way Giants coach Tom Coughlin handled the situation.

"After my situation happened, I turned on the TV, and the first words out his mouth was 'sad and disappointing,'" Burress told the magazine. "I'm like, forget support, how about some concern? I did just have a bullet in my leg.

"And then, I sat in his office and he pushed back his chair and goes 'I'm glad you didn't kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize we're grown men and actually have kids of our own."

Burress' words about Coughlin ring true. Everybody knows Coughlin was so close to being run out of New York. After countless run-ins with players, Coughlin finally made some adjustments, changing his my-way-or-the-highway approach to coaching.

[+] EnlargePlaxico Burress
AP Photo/Julio CortezPlaxico Burress has a lot on his mind heading into his first regular-season action since 2008.

Players responded for him and enabled him to win Super Bowl XLII for the 2007 season championship. By the way, it was Burress who caught the game-winning touchdown to get Coughlin to the NFL mountaintop.

Enter Eli Manning, the QB who threw Burress the ball to defeat the previously undefeated New England Patriots in that magical Super Bowl ride.

Burress was hurt that Manning made no effort to reach out to him while he was locked up. It cut Burress deep because he thought they were tight. It's understandable. Quarterbacks and receivers have the same kind of bond that pitchers and catchers have in baseball. Both have to be on the same page in order to have any success. It's just natural for those players to look out for each other.

"I was always his biggest supporter, even days when he wasn't on, 'cause I could sense he didn't have thick skin," Burress said, referring to Manning. "Then I went away and I thought he would come see me, but nothing, not a letter in two years.

"I don't want to say it was a slap in the face, but I thought our relationship was better than that."

It was obvious Manning had no use for Burress. When the Giants, for a brief moment, entertained the idea of bringing back Burress, Manning was noncommittal. He said nothing in support of Burress. That spoke volumes. For sure, that would sting a person -- to realize that all the people who smiled in your face when life was good and you were catching the football and helping them win games were nowhere to be found when things went bad.

In life, they always say you can tell who your true friends are when all isn't peaches and cream.

Burress' quotes from this article seem honest and genuine. Best of all, they come off as very human. There's no hate, no pointing fingers where they shouldn't be pointed.

Burress, 34, sounds like a man hurt by how others treated him during a dire time in his life. Sadly, Burress realized that not only don't they care about Burress the man, they never did.

And his parting shot at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was fair, too. Bloomberg acted like Burress was a trophy. The idea that he was going to send a star athlete to prison seemed to almost give him glee.

"The way Bloomberg treated me was totally wrong, stacked those charges so high I had to go to jail," Burress said to Men's Journal.

One thing Burress could have left out was his swing at fans, who he said celebrated his prison sentence. For sure, most didn't find happiness in a sad situation.

Still, Burress had his say. And you can't blame him. Many people turned their backs on him. It had to hurt and make a man want to blast those he felt let him down.

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