The drama that is the New York Jets took another twist yesterday when 2019 first-round pick Quinnen Williams was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon at New York’s La Guardia Airport. Although it’s unclear right now what the immediate punishment will be from the league and law enforcement, several questions remain: Was the gun “loaded”? Is this another Plaxico Burress situation?
According to the law offices of Julie Rendelman, “In New York, the offense of Criminal Possession of a Weapon has four degrees. The fourth degree version is a misdemeanor while the others are felonies that could subject you to a mandatory prison sentence. Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the fourth degree addresses the mere fact that a weapon, like a gun or blackjack is in your possession, no matter how you intended to use it. A conviction can result in a fine and up to one year in the county jail.”
Criminal Possession of a weapon in the second degree (Plaxico Burress’ original charge) is a class C felony and calls for mandatory jail time (three and-a-half to fifteen years) for carrying a “loaded” firearm without a valid New York license/permit. Additionally, what constitutes a “loaded” gun is not as clear as most people think; a firearm can still be considered “loaded” even if there are no bullets in the piece. Hopefully, for Quinnen’s sake, his weapon was considered empty at the time of the arrest, and the fourth degree charge will be applied.
Quinnen holds a gun permit in Alabama, but laws change when crossing state lines, and it’s the responsibility of the possessor to be aware of the rules. In other words, “I didn’t know” doesn’t hold any weight, and real-life lessons are, unfortunately, learned the hard way.
If this ends up being a fourth degree criminal charge—which many have speculated—it will boil down to a fairly innocuous event; however, emotions on social media are high, and criticism is warranted.
I think the biggest disappointment for Jets fandom is not the particular situation, but the player involved. While many have debated Quinnen’s usage throughout the year and “lack of production,” nobody questioned his disposition. Whether he was thanking himself after a sneeze, “bless you, thank you,” or making us laugh during a press conference, “My rating? I got an 80 overall in Ultimate Team, so I’m going to go play with myself today and see how I feel…That came out weird.” Williams, by all accounts, maintained a flawless character.
Nobody expected a “Grand Theft Auto” moment like Sheldon Richardson’s 143 mph high-speed chase down a Missouri highway with a handgun, and a 12-year-old in the car. Or when the “Sun Gawd” himself had a “Need for Speed” and couldn’t resist pushing it over 100 mph (in a 45 mph zone) on an early Florida morning. Quinnen’s arrest is just another unfortunate incident in a string of strange episodes for the team, and although things happen, it’s shocking that he, in particular, made the headlines.
Inevitably, scrutiny comes along with being the third pick in the draft, but if Quinnen is charged with a felony or fails to produce this upcoming season, even his most staunch supporters will have a difficult time defending him against the masses.