Thursday, December 4, 2008

Two Different Stories: Plaxico Burress and Myron Rolle

This week stories about two very different football players were brought to the forefront of the sports world.

Unfortunately the story of the star NFL wide receiver that “accidentally” shot himself in the leg at a New York City nightclub garnered a bit more attention than the other.

Tragedy tends to make better news than triumph.

That’s why the hottest news in the sports world all week was that the Giants’ Plaxico Burress, a Michigan State product who has developed into one of the NFL’s most physically dominant receivers, shot himself in the thigh at a nightclub last Friday night.

First of all, you can’t carry a handgun in New York City. It’s even worse if you don’t have a permit for that gun, and if you carry it into a place that serves alcohol you’re not up to anything good.

And presumably Burress was not up to anything good.

After hearing the reports that Dr. Josyann Abisaab was talked into not reporting Burress’ injury in a ridiculous cover up attempt by Burress and his handlers, one can only imagine how much of the story actually is a cover up.

After all, it seems farfetched that Burress’ .40-caliber Glock randomly discharged as he was walking through the club with a drink in one hand as the reports say. That’s a weapon that requires about five pounds of pressure on the trigger to fire under normal circumstances.

There’s no telling what was going on inside that nightclub.

Burress has developed a reputation as a distraction to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. It was just a month and a half ago that Burress was fined $45k by the NFL for verbally abusing an official and then talking smack about the officiating after the game.

And yet his teammate and fellow receiver Amani Toomer came to his defense saying, “I don’t think people understand how good of a person he really is.”

Excuse us, Mr. Toomer, but the guy curses referees and totes illegal weapons around in public places. That’s just not how good guys act.

Whatever happened to a little accountability? Burress lives in a privileged world where he just signed a five-year, $35 million deal with a four million dollar signing bonus and this is what the fans get for paying him like that.

His latest episode likely has him headed to prison for a few years. I guess that’s accountability, just a little bit too late.

Galaxies away, across the football universe, Florida State safety Myron Rolle did something this week that should be an inspiration to every young athlete in this country. Rolle announced he will forgo his senior season of eligibility at Florida State to pursue other opportunities.

For 99% of college football players a decision to forgo their senior season translates to a decision to enter the NFL Draft.

But for Myron Rolle it means he will accept the Rhodes Scholarship that he was awarded two weeks ago and attend Oxford University for his senior year of college.

Rolle still has NFL aspirations and plans to train accordingly before and after his studies at Oxford, but, unlike many others, Burress included, Rolle has his priorities straight.

As one of the top safeties in the country, Rolle has a bright future in the NFL, but an even brighter future after his playing days are over. He wants to be a neurosurgeon and plans on attending medical school after playing in the NFL.

Rolle told ESPN yesterday that his goal is to eventually open up medical facilities in the Bahamas, where his parents are from and work with other impoverished countries to improve their vaccination and mental health programs.

His is the story that deserves to be told.

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