Pierce in clear
Looks like the Giants won’t have to worry about losing their starting middle linebacker for any time at all in relation to the Plaxico Burress shooting.
The grand jury that was considering levying charges against Antonio Pierce for removing Burress’ gun from the Latin Quarter came back with a “no bill.” That means he won’t face charges.
“Antonio is gratified that the grand jury determined that the evidence did not support an indictment,” Michael Bachner, Pierce’s attorney, wrote in an e-mail. “Once the grand jurors were able to hear Antonio, see him and understand the workings of his mind on that extraordinary evening, they concluded, as they should have, that the acted as any reasonable person would have.”
Tom Coughlin, in a statement released by the Giants, was also relieved.
“As I said yesterday, we are anxious to start
the new season, nobody more than Antonio,” Coughlin said. “Today’s decision allows him
and this team to move forward and focus on our preparation for the season.”
And since he won’t be going to court, the NFL has also decided there “was no basis for suspension” under its Personal Conduct policy, according to league spokesman Greg Aiello.
It was exactly the outcome team president John Mara hoped to get when he came out strongly in Pierce’s corner as soon as he learned the Manhatttan DA’s office was pursuing charges. DA Robert Morgenthau said, in the aftermath of the grand jury testimony, that some of the roleplayers showed “first-degree bad judgement,” but that it didn’t rise to the level of criminal activitiy.
“We certainly agree with the grand jury’s decision,” Mara said. “We said last week we felt strongly that Antonio’s actions did not warrant criminal charges, and obviously the grand jury, having heard all of the testimony, felt the same way.”
Burress was not so lucky, however. The grand jury indicted him on two felony counts of weapons possession, which carry a 15-year maximum sentence, and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment for shooting himself in the leg while fumbling with his Glock in the early morning hours of Nov. 29. Now, he has to either surrender himself or be arrested. Obviously, he’s in a heap of trouble right now.
The Giants, who released Burress in May, they can put the shooting incident behind them.
“Antonio is a leader on this team, but he is still human, and this has been an emotionally draining experience for him,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “We know he was happy to get to training camp yesterday, and with this behind him, he can focus all his energy and efforts on football. He
took this matter very seriously.”
But let me ask you something. Was the grand jury right? Should they have let Pierce off the hook so easily? Or might they have been swayed by his celebrity status?
How did you want to see this all come out?