New York Giants

New York Giants pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul has allowed us to think through time about the dumbest and silliest sports injuries.

By Kevin Flynn

Last Sunday night, I started getting the texts, Facebook shares and links to the breaking story that Jason Pierre Paul (affectionately known as J.P.P. by adoring New York Football Giants fans) had suffered severe hand injuries while shooting off fireworks on Independence Day.

Since that day, there’s only one dubious award I can tag this entire situation: the strangest story I have ever heard coming out of the world of the NFL.

Let’s just quickly review some of the stories from the NFL that could be nominated for such a razzie.

Last year, we endured the trials and tribulations of Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson and the fact that he used a tree branch to teach his four year old son a lesson.1giants2

There’s so much more:

  • The Accusations against Greg Hardy beating his girlfriend and threatening her life is sickening.
  • The Ray Rice punching his wife in an Atlantic City hotel made him lose his job and made everyone surrounding the case look terrible.

Let’s look further back in time:

  • Quarterback Michael Vick and his heinous crimes in which he ran and funded a dog-fighting ring.
  • Wide Receiver Donte Stallworth’s DUI in which he was convicted of manslaughter.
  • Ray Lewis in 1999 was involved in a murder investigation during the Super Bowl weekend.
  • And of course Former Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez and the ongoing murder trial.

All of these crimes are just that, crimes. Crimes against another living thing. These players were arrested, charged and mostly convicted of crimes that resulted in hurting other people or animals for no viably good reason.

Then the Patriots get caught with deflated balls in the AFC Championship game.

This act was against the rules of a game and compared to these others should be minute in the eyes of the media. Yet, the talk surrounding the Patriots getting caught cheating once again after “Spygate” seemed to be all the rage for weeks on end.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the Giants and their most recent incidents:

In 2008, former Giants Wide Receiver Steve Smith gets robbed. So Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress carries a gun with him into a night club while wearing sweatpants. The gun somehow goes off while Burress is “fumbling” for it. He ends up shooting himself in the foot.

Meanwhile, former Linebacker and defensive captain, Antonio Pierce assists Plax in the cover up by getting rid of the gun. Mayor Bloomberg gets involved because of the new Anti-Gun laws in New York City and Plaxico goes to jail for two years for criminal possession of a firearm.

The Giants part ways with him almost immediately. The result was a swift nose dive into obscurity because the Giants were making a pretty good run at the time. The Giants were about as unlucky in this scenario as I have ever seen.

That is, until this past weekend.

Let’s start with this: If the whole Burress hadn’t happened, then I’m not sure the JPP fireworks incident would make it as the strangest story I’ve ever heard.

It did happen though, and I have to question if there’s anything else in the player’s possession that they should not have right now?

Fireworks are illegal. Sure they are a big part of Americana once a year, every Fourth of July, but they should be handled by professionals who have the training to and the proper safety gear to protect them when it’s time to put them on display.

The story is that JPP was holding a Roman candle to shoot it in the air.

A Roman candle is a long thin cylinder and in this case, rather than shooting out of the open end, the explosive fireworks in this canister exploded while the former All-Pro Defensive End for the Giants was holding it. He suffered severe injuries and just had his index finger amputated.

We know this because someone released the report to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which is pretty much a violation of some strict HIPAA laws. Especially if that someone works at the hospital.

If it was someone from JPP’s publicity camp, then that would just be a dumb move when millions of dollars are at stake for JPP.

What’s even stranger is the relationship between the Giants organization and JPP at this moment in time. JPP is a restricted free agent but the Giants placed their one and only franchise tender on JPP. The tender bumps JPP’s salary to $14 million this year until the Giants and the defensive end can work out a long-term deal, if he had signed it already.

JPP chose not to sign the tender, which would have guaranteed his contract this year. He wants a long-term deal and the Giants had an offer worth about $60 million in total for Pierre-Paul, but that offer still seems far apart from what JPP and his camp are looking for, so now the two sides are at odds.

JPP is a man without a country right now because he didn’t sign the franchise tender, he doesn’t have a long-term deal, and he just shunned Giants personnel that came to visit him in the hospital.

I have never seen or heard a story of an injury being so ludicrous in nature and possibly cost a person so much in his career than this.

I remember when pitcher Kevin Brown punched a wall and broke his hand in 2004 while playing for the Yankees. It was a dumb fit of rage, but at least it wasn’t his pitching hand. That distinct honor went to Cardinals pitcher Julian Tavarez in October 2004.

How does a player like JPP not ask or pay someone else to put on a fireworks display?

I remember Tampa Bay Kicker, Martin Gramatica tearing his ACL jumping up and down while celebrating a game winning field goal. Even Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch did the same for celebrating a sack just this past season.

None of those compare to the unfortunate ridiculous situation that JPP has gotten himself into. This is because in those other examples those players were already under contract when those boneheaded injuries occurred.

When a player has the ability to call for and pay a driver to chauffeur them all over town so they don’t get in trouble and charged with a driving under the influence or intoxicated charge, you would hope they use that service as it is valuable to maintaining their career. How does a player like JPP not ask or pay someone else to put on a fireworks display?

The Giants are the type of organization that has distanced themselves from trouble makers before and they also possess a grizzled old school coach that will make sure the player gets back to the basics of playing football with a troubled past. Some players have played with a club on the end of their arm and JPP has the talent and speed to still play the game at a top level.

However this turns out, I’m still just shocked at the terrible timing for which this idiotic injury took place during stalled contract negotiations. I’m appalled that confidential hospital reports were released in such an egregious manner. I can only sit and wonder what the Giants brass must be thinking and how they can work it into their future contracts that no player can be caught with illegal fireworks, firearms, TNT, mortars, grenades, tanks, scud missiles…basically anything that goes boom.

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A Rabid NY Giants and Yankees fan, with a soft spot for all other NY Sports teams. A Poker loving, Fantasy Sports playing phenom who is also a former Professional Wrestler. Yes, I said it....the Squared Circle. I cover Professional Wrestling, along with the NFL, MLB and some other fun stuff for Elite Sports NY. A successful and loyal Husband, Father, Brother and Son. A Man who wears many hats in life, figuratively and literally.