♣ I Kinda Saw This Coming…♣
“Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”
— George Carlin
EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s a cold January day on the campus of Michigan State University. In the back of the computer lab in Bessey Hall is a skinny, young freshman from Detroit settling into his first computer class in his second semester of college. It’s 1998, and the internet and e-mail weren’t nearly as off-the-proverbial-chain as they are now. This class was actually teaching students how to SEND & RECEIVE e-mail along with how to create websites. Groundbreaking stuff for 1998 to be sure. As the young man settles in to his computer and is messing around on his favorite websites at the time, ESPN.com and wwf (now wwe).com, a very tall, and somewhat confused fellow freshman seems to be having a boatload of trouble with his computer. After frantically sliding his mouse all over the table, fidgeting with cords, and even slapping the sides of the computer, the young man from Detroit finally leans over and asks “What’s the problem, homie?” The confused dude responds: “Man, I can’t get this computer to work dawg! This is the third one that ain’t worked.” The Detroit freshman examines the computer for a second, then leans over and pushes the button labeled “Power“. The computer comes on, and a dumbfounded smile pops onto the face of the tall young man. The dude from Detroit, looking incredulously at the tall fellow, tries to stifle the inevitable laughter. The tall joker extends his hand and says “Thanks, man. My name’s Plaxico. I play football.” After trying to process the odd sounding name, the other freshman responds “What’s Happening dude. I’m Jason.” The table has been set, now let’s eat!
When I met Plaxico Burress in class that day, I had no idea that I might have been sitting next to one of the most talented men to ever wear a Michigan State Spartans uniform. He may also be, quite possibly, the dumbest man I have ever encountered. I mean Peter Griffin/Homer Simpson dumb. His guilty plea on a weapons charge stemming from an incident in a New York nightclub where he accidentally shot himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun he had tucked in the waistband of a pair of sweatpants…with the safety off, will land him in jail for two years, cost him millions of dollars, and could conceivably signal the end of his NFL career (He’ll be 34 by the time he’s released and most teams ain’t checking for a 34 year old wide out who has been locked up for 2 years).
The biggest thing that stuck out about him in those MSU days was that he wasn’t just another dumb jock. He was disturbingly dumb. It was never a question of whether he was a talented football player, because he clearly was. He set numerous records in just two years at MSU. It would’ve been three years, but he was academically ineligible in 1997 (and that was very difficult to pull off considering his stature). My favorite MSU memory of Plaxico came when he single-handedly shredded a Tom Brady-led Michigan team in East Lansing in 1999. The Spartans were ranked as high as #5 that year, and ended up beating Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Along the way during that run, this dude got a taste of fame and success, which is something that you should never give to cats who aren’t that bright. He left MSU for the NFL and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2000.
When I met him, he was dumb as a bag of hair, but he was also pretty humble and grounded. By 2000, he had become a very arrogant and obnoxious a-hole, and combine that with being enabled by any and everyone around him and you kinda knew that something bad was going to happen to that boy. Some of his brainlessness was funny. During a game against Jacksonville his rookie season, he had a momentary flash of brilliance. After making a 19-yard catch in the 4th quarter, Plaxico excitedly spiked the ball after he fell down. The problem was, that the ball was still live, therefore it was a fumble! And it was recovered, by Jacksonville. While his play on the field improved, including the multiple thousand yard seasons and his game-winning catch in the Super Bowl two years ago, his off the field issues mounted.
While most of his legal transgressions have been minor in comparison to legends like Pacman Jones, Michael Irvin, Donte Stallworth, Leonard Little, Michael Vick, Tank Johnson, and any Cincinnati Bengal not named Carson Palmer, he still got into a fair amount of trouble. He’d been sued nine times since he entered the NFL (basically one lawsuit a year every year), including a civil lawsuit currently pending against him in Broward County, Florida, where a woman claims that his $140,000 Mercedes-Benz collided with the back of her car. Plaxico was driving with expired insurance. Notice a pattern here? This man is an example of what my mom calls “too stupid to be rich.” Most of his issues have been self-inflicted. I know the ignorant, unwashed, Negro masses love to act as if everyone is out to get the rich, black, pro athlete. There is actually a section of this society that thinks that Burress was set up or railroaded. And just like the people who think the same thing happened to Michael Vick, you would be more off base than a dude leaving rehab.
This gigantic pair of clown shoes stuffed a gun in his waistband, while wearing SWEATPANTS!!!! Right now, if you are wearing sweat pants or shorts, try to stuff your wallet into the waistband. Now try to walk across the room, and what happens? That wallet is down your leg, and onto the floor! Now just replace that empty room with a crowded club, and that wallet with a loaded Glock 9mm and you have the predicament that Plaxico put himself in. And before you dummies say that “he only shot himself”, need I remind you that bullets travel, and especially love to bounce off of stuff! Let’s assume that instead of blasting himself in the leg, that bullet bounces off the floor and strikes someone in the neck or in the head. Then we’re not talking gun possession, we’re talking manslaughter! And unless you’re Donte Stallworth, you ain’t getting off easy.
As if that isn’t enough, he managed to get the hospital to not call the authorities to alert them that he’d shot himself (stands to reason because he knew that he had no business carrying that gun), and nearly got his teammate Antonio Pierce knocked because he decided to help him stash the gun. The Giants, already tired of his post-Super Bowl act of having held out for more money on a contract he’d just signed and repeatedly getting fined for criticizing referees, suspended him for the rest of the season w/out pay. He was due a $1 Million signing bonus just 8 days later, but blew that. He was eventually released by the Giants in April, and no team was coming anywhere signing him because of his legal issues (and likely because most of these teams had already exceeded their quota of spoiled dumb-asses on their payroll).
He arrogantly carried himself as if his celebrity would get him off. In spite of the mountain of evidence, he insisted he was innocent and turned down an initial plea deal that would’ve just landed him a fine and three months of jail time! Ready to go to trial, someone finally got in his ear and explained to him, probably with a coloring book, that he would be doing some real time and he couldn’t win. He plead guilty and will be doing two years in jail for being a bigger dummy than Lamont Sanford. That’s right, Plaxico Burress overplayed his already weak hand, and I mean a hand full of clubs ♣ and hearts ♥, and got Boston-ed by the NYPD! Congratulations.
Hopefully, what we have learned from all this is that curbing stupidity instead of enabling it can lead to good things. Plaxico Burress just blew millions of dollars and a livelihood that he busted a lot of ass on the field to build because, well, he’s an idiot. This entire gun fiasco just seems like it was the lost episode of “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” and it furthers the statement my mom makes about being these cats being too stupid to be rich. You would think this would serve as a cautionary tale, but there will likely be another arrogant NFL (or NBA…or MLB) a-hole who goes out and tops what Plaxico did in the next three to six months. I would simply finish this off by saying this. The only thing surprising about Plaxico Burress is that he hadn’t shot himself sooner or broken his neck getting out of bed in the morning. Please, young black men, learn from this clown’s mistakes. Leave a legacy of honor, not a legacy of stupid.
Thank You For Your Time. Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare To Be Different and G.O.M.A.B.!
Until Next Time…You Gotta Be Smart! Σ