The current NFL focus is on the Giants’ Plaxico Burress for accidently shooting himself in the leg while out on the town. The receiver now faces criminal charges and was suspended by his team earlier today. Since the incident occurred, there has been nothing but harsh criticism over players carrying concealed weapons and their reasons for it. But one reason is evident, as the wire service today disclosed that Burress’ teammate and former USC Trojan, Steve Smith, was robbed at gunpoint last week.
One of the most common criticisms, and most idiotic, is that those participating in professional sports should not be spending the wee hours in nightclubs, which in essence is saying they shouldn’t live like anyone else. Supposedly, this is the solution for athletes avoiding troubles outside of the playing surface. But just as the tragic shooting death of Redskins Sean Taylor squashed those beliefs, after being gunned down in his own home, so does the recent robbery of Steve Smith. Not that Burress had knowledge of the incident, which prompted him to carry a weapon for his own safety, but the targeting of celebrities is neither new nor an uncommon concept.
Smith wasn’t at a nightclub when he was robbed. He became a victim in front of his own home. Reportedly, he had just arrived by a chauffeur driven car to his residence, when an assailant came from behind with a gun and demanded all his valuables, to which he complied. Smith notified local police of the incident, but no arrests have been made.
Who will those certain members of the media blame now? There is no wrongful act, unless they would like to dissect his being outside of his home, which is just as ridiculous as everything else. Celebrities can not exist in a protective box, because that isn’t really living at all. Those with the wealth will always be common targets for others looking for the quick “come up”. At some point, we will eventually learn to fault the direction our society has taken, instead of faulting celebrity victims of crimes for their whereabouts. If it were you or I falling victim to crime, we rightfully fault the criminal. If you are a professional athlete, we wrongfully fault the lifestyle, and the comings and goings attached to it. Isn't that giving immunity to the person holding the weapon and shouting demands?
It is pretty embarrassing for Plaxico to unload one from the chamber into his own leg, but I can also see why he would carry a weapon. I often think back to the outcome of the Sean Taylor robbery, and wonder if the result would have been different, if he had a loaded weapon in hand.