Plaxico Burress – the NFL star who spent 21 months in prison after accidentally shooting himself – has put his weight behind to an anti-gun violence message.
Burress, now with the New York Jets, spoke Monday at a fund-raiser for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The center had lobbied for him to be jailed after he accidentally shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub in November of 2008 with a weapon that he did not have a license for.
Burress told his audience that as his life went from that of NFL star to convict, he thought to himself, “Let what happened to me serve a higher purpose”.
He contacted the Brady Center, who welcomed him to their mission to educate Americans on the risks of firearms.
“If I can save one life, keep one kid from having a firearm, then I think the higher purpose was served,” Burress said.
Burress caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning with 35 seconds remaining to give the New York Giants a 17-14 victory over New England in the 2008 Super Bowl.
Later that year he walked into a Manhattan nightclub with a gun tucked in the top of his trousers. The gun slipped and a shot was discharged, wounding Burress in the thigh.
Burress eventually pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and was jailed. He was released in June and signed with the Jets.
Before his speech on Monday, Burress told reporters that he now felt it was foolish to rely on a gun for self-defense.
“Just the thought of that, it just gives you goose bumps to think about it,” he said. “It was a false sense of security because I couldn’t see myself actually pulling the trigger.”