Dec 3, 2008

Sport - NFL star Burress faces gun charge

Alex Capstick
BBC News

The US football star who scored the winning touchdown in this year's Super Bowl faces criminal charges after shooting himself by accident.

Plaxico Burress, who plays for the New York Giants, has been charged with possession of a loaded firearm, which is illegal in the city.

If found guilty he could receive a prison sentence.

He is the latest player to be arrested, further damaging the reputation of the National Football League (NFL).

Earlier this year Plaxico Burress was a key member of the New York Giants team which won the Super Bowl, the most prestigious prize in American sport.

He caught the winning touchdown pass in a narrow victory over the New England Patriots. In September he signed a $35m (£23m) contract which would keep him at the Giants for the next five years.

But his future as a player is now in jeopardy.

He faces a possible prison sentence after shooting himself in the leg by accident in a Manhattan nightclub. In New York possession of a loaded hand gun carries an automatic jail term of three-and-a-half years.

The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said there should be no exceptions.

"I don't think anybody should be exempt from that and I think it would be an outrage if we didn't prosecute to the fullest extent of the law particularly people who live in the public domain, make their living because of their visibility," he said. "They are the role models for our kids."

Bad behaviour

The episode has highlighted an embarrassing trend for the National Football League.

Many of the incidents have been alcohol related, but a growing number of the offences concern firearms.

The NFL has implemented steps designed to protect its integrity. There is a code of conduct. Players who have broken it have been suspended without pay.

But it does not seem to have halted the pattern of bad behaviour amongst some of the League's high profile stars.

The situation prompted one online bookmaker to post odds on which NFL player would be the first to get arrested this season.

The Dallas Cowboys star Adam "Pacman" Jones was the favourite. He has been arrested six times since he joined the NFL in 2005.

It seems players appearing in court or going to jail could become more the norm than the exception.

1 comment:

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