The Jump To Conclusions Mat Has Way Too Many Footprints On It


Look, I’m not going to state that the facts out there surrounding Plaxico Burress’ shooting himself in the thigh aren’t there. It’s monumentally stupid of him to be carrying a gun illegally, only having a permit that had expired in Florida and at the very least, not applying for one in either New York or New Jersey. The fact that it went off in his pants suggests he has no clue about how to operate the safety on a gun, which is even more disturbing.

But I can’t help but sit back and want to smack the usual suspects like Bob Costas, Mike Ditka, and the rest of the NFL studio show crews make the usual suggestions about how players shouldn’t be allowed to own guns, and that they shouldn’t be out late after certain hours. Witness Ditka on the guns bit:

“This is all about priorities. When you get stature in life, you get the kind of contract, you have an obligation and responsibility to your teammates, to the organization, to the National Football League and to the fans. He just flaunted this money in their face. He has no respect for anybody but himself. I feel sorry for him, in the sense that, I don’t understand the league, why can anybody have a gun? I will have a policy, no guns, any NFL players we find out, period, you’re suspended.”

Lucky for us he never ran as the GOP candidate for Senate from Illinois. Jesus, who thought this guy would make a good senatorial candidate?  As long as he has the permits (which he apparently didn’t), it shouldn’t have mattered, period. The NFL is not big enough to where it should decide to take away people’s individual rights.

When I witnessesd Costas’ outrage on Football Night in America, I thought, “Spoken like a man who has never understood what it’s like to have to fear for your life.” It took Tiki Barber to correct Costas, by saying that many black athletes grow up in tough situations with gangs where they are protected because of their athletic abilities, and are used to a world where you have to protect yourself — you do not trust security people or the police. I don’t know if this is reflective of Burress’ background, but if you are a black man with millionaire money, you’re going to be wary inside and outside your home.

The situations are not comparable, as Burress was out on the town with teammates Antonio Pierce and either Derrick Ward or Ahmad Bradshaw (depending on who you read or hear)( but it’s silly not to think of how Sean Taylor was killed in his home and Antoine Walker was robbed near his home in Chicago.  Again — those are at home, but don’t you think you would protect yourself even more when you were out of you think you are a target? Yet this impulse seems to elude everyone commenting on the stubject before everything is known.

It is merely another string in Burress being a bad actor; it is part of a narrative to take missed meetings and fines and conflate them into something larger and more insidious. But the cycle hasn’t played itself out yet. Burress still has to be charged, and we have to find out his side of the story, too.  It’s asking too much to back off for a little bit though — there is blood in the water.

When A Verbal Apology Just Isn’t Enough.

Scene: New York City, in the offices above Tiffany & Co.’s store on Broadway. One of the company’s executives sits in his office, evaluating designs for its newest collection, when the phone rings.

Receptionist: Mr. Lamont, there’s a call waiting for you regarding an Elite Account.
Lamont: Entertainer, politician, or athlete?
Receptionist: Athlete, sir.
Lamont: References?
Receptionist: Codes provided by the NFL’s offices, usually given to their higher-profile players. Plays in Baltimore, name of Steven McNair.
Lamont: Put him through, Anne.
Receptionist: Yes, Mr. Lamont.

(Soft click, as lines patched through.)

Lamont: Hello, Mr. McNair. How can I be of service to you today?
Steve McNair: I was hoping you could help with a gift selection, Mr. Lamont. I thought of coming into the store, but I figured it might be better to do this over the phone.
Lamont: Understood. We keep Elite Accounts completely private, no surprises. Is there a particular order you’re looking into? Mother, wife, or girlfriend?
McNair: What?
Lamont: It’s easier to evaluate what you’re looking for if I know the nature of the relationship.
McNair: Um….wife.
Lamont: Appreciation or apology?
McNair: Apology. I may need one in advance, even though none of the stuff being floated in the papers is remotely true, y’know?
Lamont: You’ve called the right man. We’ve assisted high-profile men such as yourself when they find themselves either directly involved with or implicated in…delicate situations.
McNair: So, how much money should I be looking into here?
Lamont: Depends. We have the A-Rod level, which is $10,000+ — very popular, and if extremely necessary, there is the Kobe level — $500,000 and up per piece.
McNair: Neither level’s really appropriate. Anything in the 5-10K range?
Lamont: Plenty, at least as far as necklaces go. Rings, not as much. We’ll send along the catalog with those levels immediately, Mr. McNair. Give my assistant a call when you receive it and she’ll guide you through the process.
McNair: Wonderful. Thanks again, Mr. Lamont.
Lamont: We do what we can. I’d advise you set up an account with us in the future — keep a bit of it on hand in case something more…serious should happen.
McNair: I’ll take it under advisement.


(Thanks to the Big Lead for inspiring the idea. Odd tidbit that came across while semi-researching: Tiffany & Co. designed both the Lombardi Trophy and the current NASCAR trophy that goes to the Nextel Cup winner.)