Plaxico Burress Is Out Of Prison, Now The Real Fun Begins

Plaxico Burress was released from prison on Monday, and now becomes a free agent, free to sign with any team in the NFL. But before we start speculating, let's relive one of his greatest hits... Plus: The best rivalry in sports, a note on LeBron, Lady Gaga, and Chris Rock on staying out of trouble. Talking Points is a daily series that highlights some of the best stories in sports (and elsewhere). Read the archives here.

Plaxico Burress was released from a New York state prison on Monday morning, and called it a "beautiful day" when he spoke to the throng of reporters waiting for him on the outside. It's good to have Plax back. If nothing else, this gives us an excuse to take a break from the NFL Lockout to let our minds have some fun.

First, we get to imagine where Plaxico might play next season. Second, we get relive one of the most ridiculous celebrity crimes of the 21st century.

But as far as that second point's concerned, my favorite Plaxico story actually came a few months later. You know, after he shot himself in the leg while bouncing around New York City's club circuit. Indeed, a few weeks after that news hit, with controversy swirling and the whole world watching his every move, he got stopped for speeding. And this, ladies and gentleman, is not how you talk to a man of the law:

"F- - - you! You're going to be in a lot of trouble. I know the sheriff personally," the receiver raged at Broward County Deputy Sheriff Donald Harris during the March 18 traffic stop, police said.

Okay, so... Just standard celebrity arrogance right there. Sure, a little amazing considering Plaxico was facing 15 years in prison when this happened, but nothing too crazy. Then it gets better...

The embattled gridder ... followed every question and command with a "F- - - you," according to the citation.

Now that requires some nuclear grade swag. "Sir, can I see license and registration?"

"F--- YOU"

"Sir, do you know how fast you were going?"

"F--- YOU"

"Okay sir, are we going to have a problem here?"

"F--- YOU"

"Okay sir, we'll see you in court. I'm going to need you to sign this subpoena to appear."

(reaches for subpoena)

(signs "f--- you" in all caps)

...We all have to pretend to be outraged anytime an athlete behaves like this, but when you think about it, it's sort of impressive. Because how many people do you know who'd talk to a cop like that? And how many cops have you met that absolutely deserve the Plaxico treatment?

Plaxico was basically channeling the guy in the Chris Rock skit about the police. All of this may make him an idiot, but it also makes him hilarious, and impressively insane. Like a lankier Mike Tyson.

So yeah, I think we've all gotta root for Plax going forward.

As he told the press today, "I'd like to thank everybody for their prayers and words of encouragement. I'd like to thank all my fans all around the world for the thousands of letters, for their unwavering support. As far as football is concerned, if and when everything gets settled, when they get back on the field, I'll be ready." So what's next?

Needless to say, it would be spectacular to see him pair up with Michael Vick in Philadelphia. He's 34 years-old and just spent two years away from football, so it's anybody's guess as to whether he can actually make a difference at this point, but just for the sake of chaos, it'd be great to see Philly sign him and watch the rest of the world go absolutely insane. So here's to hoping Plax comes back strong, if only for all the people it'd piss off, and all the fun headlines he'll provide us.

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With that, let's get into Talking Points...

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The Greatest Rivalry Of This Generation. That title belongs to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who battled in Paris on Sunday, with Nadal winning rather easily this time around. But even if the latest rendition didn't quite live up to the rivalry's lofty standards, it still made for some pretty awesome tennis, and gave us all an excuse to get a little nostalgic over the greatest one-on-one rivalry of this generation. Think about it.

No other sport has given us two athletes going head-to-head at their absolute peak. If you missed it because you don't watch tennis, it's certainly understandable. But at the end of the day, Roger and Rafa is as close as we've come to Ali-Frazier in the new millennium.

And watching them on Sunday, you couldn't help but think back to that 2008 Final at Wimbledon, and what was probably the greatest tennis match ever played. Jon Wertheim's Sports Illustrated piece still holds up a few years later, and it's worth a read today:

In a spellbinding men's final that will stand as the benchmark against which all future tennis matches will be measured, Rafael Nadal dethroned Federer 6--4, 6--4, 6--7, 6--7, 9--7. Let's be unequivocal: This was the greatest match ever played.

It also doubled as a four-hour, 48minute infomercial for everything that is right about tennis—a festive display of grace, strength, speed, shotmaking and sportsmanship that crackled with electricity. If this Wimbledon final doesn't improve the sport's relevance quotient, nothing will. While Nadal collapsed onto the court after winning his fourth match point, it was the House of Federer that was brought to its knees after a glorious five-year run. "There is a new king tonight," said a breathless BBC announcer. "We may have to rethink tennis history."

Ultimately, this sentence is what shines through more than anything else: "If this Wimbledon final doesn't improve the sport's relevance quotient, nothing will." It didn't, really. So maybe nothing will?

If nothing else, that could be the great tragedy in all this. That the greatest legacy of Nadal and Federer is that the greatest rivalry in tennis history wasn't enough to save men's tennis. Having said that, let's all keep our fingers crossed for an encore at Wimbledon in a few weeks.  

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Considering Moving To Washington D.C.? Don't. Articles like this make me wonder why I ever decided to live in D.C. in the first place. From the Washington Post, a roundup of the new trend in political happy hours, where all those super motivated Capitol Hill interns talk shop:

Leave your prejudices at the door.

Find new ones inside.

Overheard at the conservative happy hour First Friday at Union Pub: "I’ll be over at the Faith and Freedom conference tomorrow. . . . They beat Notre Dame this year. . . . When Snowmageddon happened two years ago, I had a reservation at Minibar. . . . The Weiner jokes are overwhelming me right now."

Overheard at the progressive happy hour First Thursday at Lounge 201 the night before: "I’m also a PhD student. . . . I’m a lawyer by day but . . . We lost the message war! . . . Libertarianism doesn’t make sense. How can you abolish everything? . . . How drunk do I have to be to say, ‘Hey, Ron Paul intern’?"

Because what's better than a bar where one guy's annoying the crap out of everyone and steering every conversation back to politics? A bar where you can listen to all of those obnoxious people at once. Sounds too good to be true, right? It's not. Admission's free, you guys.

All you need is a pair of madras shorts, a healthy appetite for debate, and not an ounce of self-awareness. Who needs office softball when you can play Happy Hour Hardball with Chris Matthews' interns? 

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On The Other Side Of Town... Elsewhere, Kevin Durant's playing in the Goodman League in Southeast D.C. tonight. You can find out more (directions, etc) at the league's official Facebook page, and it's all free. Nike is providing free food and drinks. Just don't wear madras and start talking about politics, because you might get yourself shot in the ass. 

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A Note About LeBron James. Especially considering the chorus of folks questioning LeBron's performance in the NBA Finals thus far, this point is dead-on.

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You don't have to love him as a person, but the way he's played the past month or so, hating LeBron the player just makes you look ignorant. In other words, he's probably still a douchebag, but he's an insanely talented douchebag, and he deserves some respect.

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Speaking Of The NBA Finals... Jason Terry is still the greatest. [Via]

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A Closer Look At The West Virginia Insanity. Deadspin provides an outsider's take on all the craziness going down in Morgantown right now. SB Nation's WVU blog, The Smoking Musket, has more. And Spencer Hall turned all of this into a country song, which it basically already is.

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Lady Gaga On 60 Minutes. Because there's something kinda great about the most buttoned-up news program on television doing a special on the most ridiculous human being on earth.

Lady Gaga is the person who's so obnoxious you kind of want to slap her in the face, but just as you're winding up, you listen to what she's saying, and say, "Wait, that actually makes a little bit of sense."

"Everybody wants to see the decay of the superstar. ... They want to see me fail, they want to see me fall on stage, they want to see me vomiting out of a nightclub. Isn't that the age that we live in? We want to see people who have it all, and then lose it all. And yet, I'm just not like that on my own time. I'm not a vomit-in-the-club kind of girl."

She's either the star that understands this generation better than any of her peers, or she's an example this generation's fundamental absurdity. As she says in the interview, "People either take me too seriously, or they don't take me seriously enough." For now, it's definitely both.

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The Best Of That Dog-Surfing Competition. "Wait, what dog-surfing competition?" This one.

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Finally, Colbert And Chris Rock Get The Last Word. In case you forgot how amazing the Plaxico story was when it first happened back in 2008, here's an old Colbert clip. "Some are calling Plaxico Burress the Rosa Parks of people who have shot themselves in the thigh in a nightclub."

And in case Plaxico's looking for advice on staying clean, Chris Rock provides a few guidelines.

  1. Obey the law
  2. Use common sense
  3. Stop immediately
  4. Turn that shit off
  5. Be polite
  6. Shut the f--k up
  7. Get a white friend
  8. And last but not least, don't ride with a mad woman

Good luck, Plaxico!

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