Burress Situation Creates Questions About Athlete’s Lifestyles
December 15, 2008
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The big news around the sports world has been the incident that took place with New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Burress was in a New York club when he accidentally shot himself. After the incident, Burress was arrested for not having a license for the gun.
Now, my main question about this whole situation is why did Plaxico find it necessary to bring a loaded gun into a public place? Did he think something might go down and he would need the gun for his safety? Plaxico is not the only athlete that carries a gun. There have been a number of players that have said (before and after this incident) they carry a gun for protection whereever they go.
Yes, these guys are major stars and there is always the possibility for them to be harmed. But there have to be better ways of handling this type of danger. Instead of bringing a loaded gun everywhere you go, how about these athletes hire bodyguards? God knows that they have enough money to pay for a bodyguard.
It has also been noted that there are athletes today that have come from questionable backgrounds before they turned pro. They may have had to live a lifestyle where they did need a gun to protect themselves. But as soon as these guys turn pro things change. If an athlete comes from a questionable background, the first thing that should be done is for that athlete to get away from the street lifestyle.
Going back a couple of summers ago with the whole Michael Vick situation, you can clearly see that he stuck with people who were troublemakers. He never got away from them and they ended up stabbing him in the back when he needed their support the most. More recently, Adam Jones has been in trouble off the field. He committed crimes that have left him in serious trouble with the league. Jones has a load of talent and he continues to make stupid decisions. Again, Jones is still living a street thug lifestyle even though he can clearly get out of that lifestyle and position himself with better people.
If Plaxico really felt he was going to need to bring a gun to the club that he went to, he should have never been there in the first place. Burress has a wife and a kid at home. He should not have gone to a situation that may have put his life and family in danger.
Athletes who continue to get themselves in trouble should look at someone like Marvin Harrison as a good example on how to conduct their lives as pro athletes. Marvin Harrison has never been in trouble both on the field and off the field. He is a guy that does his job right and is a class act. Pro athletes have to realize that many people, especially kids, look up to them. If kids look up to Plaxico and know he carries a gun, then a young kid may think it is okay to have one.
Not only are Burress, Jones, Vick and many others hurting themselves by putting themselves in bad positions, they are also hurting their respective teams. Yes, this may seem like a small factor in the big picture, but when you are getting paid millions of dollars by a franchise that depends on you to perform, you are expected to stay out of trouble. Teams put trust in these guys, and in return they should honor their teams by staying out of trouble.
The bottom line is if pro athletes want to stay out of trouble and protect themselves, they have to start thinking clearly and making better decisions. They have to realize they are setting a bad example for kids, affecting their franchise, and more importantly, hurting themselves and their careers.