Mon 6 Oct 2008
Some of the coverage of the Plaxâ€™s comments today has been pretty misleading, and, I believe, kind of misses the point.
ESPNâ€™s article, which has occupied the siteâ€™s top spot all evening, led with: â€œAn unapologetic Plaxico Burress rejoined the New York Giants on Monday, noting he didnâ€™t lose any sleep after he Super Bowl champions suspended him for a game.â€
The beat writers are a little more even-handed, knowing that Plax being Plax isnâ€™t nearly as bad as Manny being Manny or T.O. being T.O.
Sure, Plaxâ€™s attitude during the interview was defiant, and he definitely said some ridiculous things.Â But if you read the whole transcript â€“ you can read it in four parts here â€“ itâ€™s clear that although he stopped short of apologizing, he knows what he did was unacceptable.
–â€œMaybe I couldâ€™ve put a call in.â€
–â€œI definitely let them down.â€
–â€œThey made the decision for the best of the team and I have a lot of respect for that.Â They made the decision to suspend me for a week, which I was cool with.Â We all agreed to it and moved on.â€
–â€œWill I make the same decision?Â Yes.Â Will I handle the situation a little better?Â Yes, Iâ€™ll put in a phone callâ€
So going forward, Plax gets it, or at least he gets it enough.Â His defiant attitude during the interview was probably the result of feeling cornered by the media.Â Plax is the proverbial â€œProud Man,â€ and like many people, probably has a hard time distinguishing between an apology and a ritual of humiliation.Â Thatâ€™s a frustrating quality, but hardly a reason to write the guy off as a bad teammate.
Now, I donâ€™t mean to excuse Plaxâ€™s actions or comments.Â There was certainly a lot in that interview to make you angry.
His repeated insistence that he would do it again â€“ or as he put it: â€œItâ€™s like I told them, if I have a decision to make about my family or son and things like that, I wouldnâ€™t change anything about itâ€ â€“ was pretty infuriating.
But do you think he really meant that?Â It doesnâ€™t jibe with the â€œapologiesâ€ above.Â Rather, this struck me as a misguided tactic to get the media off his back by playing the family card.Â But the problem, obviously, wasnâ€™t his choosing his family over football.Â It was that he didnâ€™t call.Â He knows that, but maybe he naively believed this tactic could make him a sympathetic character.Â It backfired, and he wound up making himself look worse.
Also, it was weird when he said he only watched â€œa little bit of [the game].Â I watched the first half.â€Â If an athlete losing $100 grand and shrugging his shoulders doesnâ€™t infuriate the average fan, this might.Â Didnâ€™t watch the game?Â For Heavenâ€™s sake, many of us have watched it twice already!
But hereâ€™s the deal here: We can choose to get bent out of shape about what he said, or we can accept that this situation, while imperfect, doesnâ€™t present an imminent threat to team morale.Â It doesnâ€™t even present a gathering threat.
As Ralph Vacchiano wrote in his live chat with readers last week, â€œI donâ€™t think Burress and Coughlin have ever really gotten along.Â Theyâ€™ve peacefully coexisted more than anything else.â€
Or as Plax himself said today, â€œWe hit and miss sometimes and things like that.â€
Itâ€™s a manageable situation, this Plax being Plax.Â But you know what else was Plax being Plax?Â Gutting out last season on a shredded ankle, adding a separated shoulder in Green Bay and then a torn knee before the Super Bowl.
So letâ€™s move on and start thinking about Cleveland.