September 29, 2008
Recently-suspended Giants WR Plaxico Burress has been fined a stunning 40-50 times during his four seasons in New York, according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer. The fines have been levied for various offenses, mainly related to Burress' tardiness for meetings and treatments. Considering that Burress has played in 50 games for the Giants, the total number of violations is mind-boggling. (It should be said that Tom Coughlin is a task-master who fines players for being early to meetings (his meetings begin five minutes early), so getting a few fines probably isn't out of the ordinary for some players. But 50? That's habitual.)
Glazer's sources also tell him that Burress is often insubordinate towards Coughlin, frequently "tuning him out" during conversations and ignoring direct orders. This news isn't altogether surprising; Plaxico has long been known for his diva-like attitude, something that gets glossed over because of the successes his teams have had.
Burress has accepted the fines without incident, writes Glazer, but was taken aback by the suspension because "he just wants to play football." What Plax doesn't seem to understand is that playing football is a full-time job that includes going to meetings, getting treatment for injuries and listening to coaches. His new $35 million contract doesn't just pay him for Sundays, but for the other six days of the week as well.
This is a major problem for the Giants. It's one thing to give star treatment to your biggest offensive weapon, but allowing him to create his own rules in a locker room that won a Super Bowl thanks, in part, to the disciplined approach of Tom Coughlin is a powder keg of resentment waiting to explode. It seems like the Giants tried to handle this in-house for the past few years, but when Burress didn't show up for a meeting on Monday, they were forced to act.
Now that the team has drawn its line in the sand, what happens the next time Burress shows up late or turns his back to Coughlin? The toughest kind of person to control is the one who doesn't care.
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