It was going to take a lot more than a little stomach ailment to keep Mario Manningham from missing…
Was Plax's Punishment Fair?
Knowing Kenny the way I do these many (too many) years, I can fully anticipate what he thinks about the Plaxico Burress affair. No big deal. Get over it. What's the fuss? Blah, blah, blah. That's Kenny, usually taking the players' side and not seeing the big picture. Well, a voice of reason is needed and I'm that voice. The one-game (and two-week) suspension of Burress is a big deal and it will linger long after the suspension is over and done with.
The guy is a warrior on the field and one of a handful of elite receivers in the game but he's also got some serious issues with responsibility and owning up to authority. Don't show up for work, don't call and don't return messages asking where the heck you are? If any one of us in the real workplace did that we'd be lucky to get off with a suspension. We might get fired. This is not the first time Burress has pulled this stunt and don't give me the tired old "attending to personal family matters" nonsense.
We all have personal family matters, sickness, funerals, car pools, disputes and we all manage to get to work and if we can't, we pick up the phone and say "I'm not coming in today." Gee, that wasn't so hard, was it? Burress appealed the suspension and was shocked the team wouldn't play him against the Seahawks, which tells me he doesn't understand how wrong he actually was.
When he returns, he won't have his head on straight. He may say the right things and for a while toe the company line but he will feel cheated and picked-on for sitting one game and that won't sit well with him. He can be a stubborn guy and it will be interesting to see if he pulls any more stunts as the season progresses.
Au contraire, my friend. Plax was indeed wrong this time around. Yes, I've basically taken his side every other time so far. I couldn't believe how he came to New York with such a negative reputation as a malcontent and a troublemaker. All I've seen for most of his New York career was a guy that almost always put the team first, played hurt all last season and never said boo, then handled a contract issue about as good as a star player can.
So, yeah, the precedent to defend Plax has certainly been set. But this time even he has gone too far – and even I can't defend him any more. He and Jeremy Shockey rarely, if ever, returned the Giants phone calls the last few years – whether from Tom Coughlin or Jerry Reese. Like Paul said, that's no way to act professionally. Maybe you want to let the call go to voicemail and then return it at a better time? No problem. We all do that when work calls – except me, of course.
But the key phrase there is that you do actually return the call at a better time, a later date. You return the call. Maybe Plax, as his mouthpiece stated, did contact the Giants on Monday night. But by that time it was way too late; especially for such a repeat defender. Perhaps Drew Rosenhaus should have spent more time getting his client to call back the Giants (or even make the call for him) than he did trying to spin the situation after the fact. The Giants' decision sends a very strong message to the team – no one is above the law here. And when someone – from star receiver to backup lineman – makes a mockery of the team-first motto, they deserve to be punished, and will be.
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