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Best of Boston 2009

Shattered Plax

Sports blotter: Burress edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  December 10, 2008

GIANT DRAMA: Plaxico Burress has a March court date for an incident in which he shot himself in the leg.
The Plaxicolor Dreamcoat
New York is all agog over the story of Giants wideout Plaxico Burress, the gigantic pass-catcher who doomed the Patriots last year by toasting Ellis Hobbs for a Super Bowl–winning TD and is now paying the karmic price with a tabloid scandal for the ages.

Burress, who seems unusually stupid and arrogant, even for an NFL wide receiver, is in a jam for accidentally shooting himself and then contriving to cover up the incident by (allegedly) convincing a doctor to skip the normally mandatory police report.

The story started early on the morning of November 29 in Manhattan’s Latin Quarter nightclub, where witnesses heard a loud pop and then saw Burress, the idiot, staggering and clutching his leg. The receiver — who didn’t have a permit to carry the gun — was overheard saying, “Take me to the hospital.”

He went to New York-Presbyterian, where he was treated by a Dr. Josyann Abisaab, who for reasons that remain as yet unknown failed to comply with a 2000 law mandating that hospitals report all gunshots, powder burns, knife wounds, and ice-pick punctures to the police.

Also inveigled in this scandal are linebacker Antonio Pierce, who allegedly drove Burress to the hospital, and, to a lesser degree, troubled running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who was at the nightclub at the time of the shooting. The many moving parts — a possible hospital cover-up, the possible complicity of team officials and players, and the fact that Burress is a star who’d already clashed with the team earlier this year for contractual reasons — have made this a tabloid orgy in which everyone involved is taking turns overreacting in front of the cameras. One police spokesman even invoked the ghosts of Watergate when he talked about a “universe of silence” around the incident.

Burress posted $100,000 bail for two weapons-possession charges; his next court appearance is in March. He was also suspended for the final four games of the season. Dr. Abisaab has been suspended by New York-Presbyterian and may face charges under that 2000 New York law, a Class A misdemeanor. Nobody knows yet what’s going to happen with Pierce. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who knows how to pile on with the best of them, said it would be an “outrage” if authorities didn’t prosecute Burress and the hospital to “the fullest extent of the law.”

Burress’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, meanwhile, said that Burress is a “mature adult” who is “standing tall.”

Actually he’s a moron who accidentally discharges loaded guns in crowded nightclubs and is now at least leaning a little to one side, if he’s still standing tall at all. But who’s counting?

The Giants are kicking ass on the field, but they’ve had some tough times lately, for sure. Another wideout, Steve Smith, was robbed at gunpoint on November 25. Some guy waited for Smith outside his townhouse and stuck a gun to the back of his head, taking his wallet, cell phone, and jewelry.

Who commits armed robbery for a wallet? Is the financial crisis really that severe?

Anyway, Plax has to get at least 50 points for the weapon, the cover-up, and his general thick-headedness. Let’s give him 66 and call it a day.

In other New York news
Meanwhile, New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis got a standard traffic-stop/weed bust, forcing phocine traitor-coach Eric Mangini to express disappointment with his pass-rusher.

Ellis was apparently “uncooperative” when he was pulled over near Jets headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey, on November 29, after he zoomed past a police cruiser at high speed. Cops say Ellis refused to hand over the necessary paperwork. He was searched and police found the usual stash. The charges ended up being possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, and he was issued a summons for driving without insurance, speeding, failure to keep right, and driving without a registration card.

The Jets are taking a “we’ll let the legal system take its course” stance here and Ellis is still playing. Eight points overall for this one, mostly for being a Jet.

Keep an eye on this one — it may turn out to be important at draft time. Texas Tech defensive back De’Shon Sanders was busted by the DEA for dealing more than 50 grams of cocaine. Why does this matter? Because all-world wide receiver Michael Crabtree is a housemate of Sanders, and was in the room when agents searched the place.

Crabtree hasn’t been implicated in any crime, but you can bet NFL teams are watching to see if this bust ends up affecting their draft boards next spring.

When he's not googling "Burress duress" and "cornered Sanders," Matt Taibbi writes for Rolling Stone. He can be reached

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Related: Blount's blunts, Quiet before the storm, He choked big time, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Abe Satterfield, Adam "Pacman" Jones, AFC East Division,  More more >
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 See all articles by: MATT TAIBBI

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