Thursday, August 20, 2009

The System Works? Yes, Just Not Logically

Lately, there have been a lot of NFL players' names and the word "prison" in the news. Donte' Stallworth, Michael Vick, and Plaxico Burress have been the most recent and notable ones with jail sentences.

Vick - interstate dogfighting ring
Stallworth - DUI/Manslaughter
Burress - unlawful carrying of a handgun

I think if we put the actions in order of least to most offensive, it would go Burress, Vick, and Stallworth, and, frankly, I don't even think it is debatable, but here are the crimes with the penalty the athlete received.

Vick - interstate dogfighting ring - 23 months
Stallworth - DUI/Manslaughter - 30 days
Burress - unlawful carrying of a handgun - 2 years

In reality, all Burress did was accidentally shoot himself in the leg, and he gets two years on a plea bargin?! His crime is the worst of all of these?

If a judge hears these three crimes - killing a man while driving drunk, bankrolling an interstate dogfighting ring, and unlawful carrying of a handgun - does he really think the last one is the worst? The only reason the cops even knew about it was because they saw it reported on TV.

He shot himself in the leg! Hasn't he suffered enough? I didn't realize the penalty for being stupid was so stiff. If that's the case, I've met a lot of people in my life you could be locked up for life.

It also seems as though many people are the most outraged by Vick's actions, and it makes no sense to me. What Vick did was despicable and disgusting, but when it comes down to it, he did it to animals not humans. Stallworth's blood alcohol content was 0.12, and Florida's legal limit is 0.08. Nevertheless, he got behind the wheel of car and drove, and he ended up killing a person - a human being.

What do these very different sentences say about the crimes? DUI manslaughter isn't all that bad? Stallworth's original action was so much worse than Vick's, and all he got was 30 days in the can? That's outrageous.

What's worse is that this sets a terrible example. Not to other rich people or NFL players or even other athletes, but to regular joes all across the country who are drunk each and every night. What is to stop them from getting in their car and driving home? Not a 30-day prison sentence for the worst possible consequence of drunk driving.

Where are all of the protesters and activists from organizations like M.A.D.D. and S.A.D.D.? Shouldn't they be up in arms about all of this? Shouldn't they be organizing boycotts of NFL sponsors? Shouldn't they have been outside the courthouse yelling and screaming?

I don't know if more people are against what Vick did than what Stallworth did, but I am 100 percent sure the people against Vick are a whole lot louder than the others.

It's high time the judicial system start treating celebrities like everyone else. Vick got an expected sentence, but Stallworth's stature helped him skate and Burress' stardom made an example out of him.

If a drunk kills a member of his family, what kind of a penalty would Stallworth want for that person?

1 comment:

  1. Some of these very same thoughts crossed my mind. Vick's punishment seemed appropriate. Stallworth reached a settlement with the family and Burress was made an example. I would also point Patrick Kane the mix.

    However, it is not an example to average joes. The average joe cannot pay the family or the lawyers to stay out of trouble.

    The goal is equality across the board.