Question of the day: Should Plaxico Burress be granted work release and be allowed to play in the NFL this season?
Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to chime in and tell them why they're wrong. Check back throughout the day for updates.
Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel
Donte Stallworth last played an NFL game in 2008. Since then he killed a man driving drunk, worked through the legal process, served a league suspension and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens for this season.
Plaxico Burress last played an NFL game in 2008. Since then, he shot himself in the thigh in a Manhattan nightclub, went to jail and is now trying to get out on a work-release program with hopes of playing again in the league.
If Stallworth can return in the same time frame after killing a man, why shouldn’t Burress? We love to play the tough guy in sports and deliver punishment. There's a place for what's fair and right. If the law says Burress can play, who’s to say he shouldn’t?
Updated at 12:09 p.m.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Once Plaxico Burress is granted work release, he should be allowed to play in the NFL. The terms of his league suspension stated that he could return to the field once his prison term was up, so the NFL need not punish him further at this point.
Once Burress’ debt to society is complete, he should be treated like anyone else and given the opportunity to get back into the workplace. Whether or not the Giants should welcome him back is another issue.
They might feel burned by his cavalier behavior, not only in the gun incident but in other incidents as well. You couldn’t blame the Giants for severing ties with Burress, even though he still probably could be a productive player for some team at the age of 32.
Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun
Plaxico Burress has a year to go at the Oneida (N.Y.) Correctional Facility on his two-year sentence for felony weapons charges. I'm OK with him getting out on a work-release program, but only if the time is spent in community work and not on the football field making money.
Burress was the only victim when he shot himself in the leg with an unregistered gun in 2008, but that's merely circumstance. Someone else easily could have been hurt or worse. Like many athletes, he apparently believed he could operate above the law. I think it's worthwhile to show that he can't.
Then, too, there's the matter of NFL discipline. I don't think Roger Goodell can allow Burress back in the league this year. I suspect Burress will miss two seasons before getting the chance to see what he has left.
Updated at 2:51 p.m.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Plaxico Burress should not be permitted to play in the NFL this season. Even if his request for work release is granted, and he somehow cleared all the hurdles to come back to football (can he play in out-of-state games, for instance?), Burress needs to complete his entire sentence to return.
That’s what Roger Goodell ruled, and it’s not unreasonable. Goodell’s hard-line approach to players who run afoul of the law has been the most successful initiative of his tenure as commissioner.
Does the NFL want to get in the business of determining which legal sentences are appropriate, and which are excessive? Does every sentence get re-examined? That sets a dangerous and very complex precedent. The league – unless Burress – should stick to its guns on this one.