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

burressphone

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.

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R.I.P., Sean Taylor.

The Redskins safety did not make it through the night, dying from the gunshot wound to his femoral artery.  Condolences to his family and friends.

(Note: the portions of the prior AP article in my earlier post that I complained about are still there, although they belong as part of an obit.)

Photo: AP/Kevin Wolf

Kicking A Man While He’s Down.

Since yesterday was a travel day, I get to write about the terrible shooting of Sean Taylor a day later, and while this is probably less than a novel perspective at this point, I’m just not sure why the AP writer, Walt Sedensky, felt the need to include this about the shooting of the Redskins safety by a robber while in his own home:

Taylor had a troublesome first two years in the NFL after he was drafted No. 5 overall by the Redskins in 2004, but he had mostly behaved after his daughter was born in May 2006.

[snip]
Taylor has been fined at least seven times during his professional career for late hits and other infractions. He was also fined $25,000 for skipping a mandatory rookie symposium shortly after he was drafted.

In 2005, Taylor was accused of brandishing a gun at a man during a fight over some all-terrain vehicles that had allegedly been stolen. Last year, he reached a deal in which he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation. The pleas prompted another fine from the NFL but kept his football career intact.

The man was on his deathbed for several hours this morning, and he essentially got his character questioned in a way that was completely irrelevant to the violent act that he had been the victim of — while trying to take care of his house after it had been robbed the week before.

Taylor’s rap sheet is of no consequence here and not even worth being part of the AP copy, yet it picked up — I heard ESPN commentators mention it during various shows, and from what I’m reading, Michael Wilbon damn near said Taylor brought it on himself during PTI. You get no breaks if you are a black athlete with any type of history — even if you are in danger of dying — and surprise, surprise; Taylor has had difficulty with the press. This is an illustrative demonstration of the Associated Press’ power in terms of wire copy — what its writers choose to include and exclude on items from anything, whether it be sports, politics, or what have you speaks volumes — because that wire copy forms the basis of most of the facts that national journalists will work from.

Other people who said this better:

Photo: AP/Nick Wass

Bill Maas, Getting The Party Started.

A gun, coke, pot, and E.

That’s one hell of a list of things to be accused of having in your car, and former NFLer and current Fox Sports color man Bill Maas got arrested for having exactly that (although the marijuana was “suspected”) in his car by Illinois State Police during a roadside safety check.

Police found a .22-caliber revolver, 5 grams of suspected marijuana, 6 grams of suspected cocaine and 28 pills of Ecstasy. Maas and Murphy were charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. Maas was also booked on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon.

“We didn’t recognize him until about 5 p.m. this afternoon,” Trooper Tony Halsey told the Journal Star of Peoria on Saturday.

Halsey said he had no idea why Maas and [passenger Sarah J.] Murphy, both residents of Lee’s Summit, Mo., were in the area.

Next time, we suggest announcers wait until the pre-season and training camp get underway to potentially be found with things like this in their cars. They can be brushed off under pre-game preparations. Also, if Ms. Murphy is a target of Mr. Mass’ affections and attempts to have her doff the duds, it’s worth noting that the drugs he is accused of having in said vehicle are at least complementary uppers.

Speechless.

Early reports on national media say at least 20 are dead and more injured after someone shot up a Virginia Tech dormitory and apparently, shot into classrooms after that. The university is on lockdown.

Nothing to say but offer sympathy and solidarity to the victims and the school.

Update: They’re now saying 22. Lockdown is over, and students are leaving campus. The shooter is dead (suicide), and was a student there. BD raises a good point in comments; how did this guy get to two buildings on the opposite side of campus?

Update #2: Now 32 people dead.

Rule #1 of strip clubs: don’t be a cheapskate.

Rule #2: Don’t threaten to kill a security guard after he sees you beating on a dancer for taking the bills you leave out.
Rule #3: Definitely don’t have one of your posse shoot a few people.

Unverified, but since it’s an investigation into a shooting in Las Vegas during the tail end of All-Star Weekend and Titans CB Adam “Pacman” Jones is involved, it’s curious that, as the Big Lead notes (and a hat tip to them), ESPN has done fuck-all on this yet. Usually they’re all over police blotter-worthy incidents, and boy, is this one a doozy.

The Monday morning shooting paralyzed one security guard, hit the other, and hit a female customer. How witnesses are saying it went is something like this: Jones throws tons of $1s in front of the dancers, gets pissy when one takes bills on the ground without his permission, beats on her, guard breaks it up, he threatens, gunman comes in. Now, witnesses and investigators say/think Jones knows the gunman.

These things always start because of money. If you’re going to throw it around, don’t get pissed about who comes up to take it.

UPDATE: Per With Leather, Sports by Brooks reports that there is surveillance video of this.