NEW YORK — Just one question came to mind when I first heard the news Robert Guerrero had been arrested in New York for gun possession.
A gun? In New York? A state that just passed the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, the toughest gun laws in the country? A state ready to go to war with a well-funded NRA to keep them? A state that locked Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Plaxico Burress up for 20 months for shooting himself in the leg?
“I hope that Mr. Guerrero fights better than he thinks,” Queens, N.Y., District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “For anyone who hasn’t gotten the message, let me be crystal clear. You cannot bring an unlicensed weapon — loaded or unloaded — into this county or this city. And if you do you will be arrested and face felony charges.”
Guerrero’s decision to bring an unloaded weapon — along with three empty high-capacity bullet magazines — into New York ranks as one of the dumbest decisions a high-profile athlete has made in recent memory. Guerrero was in New York to promote his May 4 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. His itinerary included a press event in Manhattan, a trip to the ESPN studios and an appearance on The 700 Club, a Christian talk show.
And he needed to be packing…why, exactly?
Maybe there is more to this story. Maybe Guerrero had a reason to carry the weapon. Maybe he has a stalker. Maybe someone was threatening his family. Who knows? Guerrero hasn’t spoken publicly on the matter — he declined to speak to reporters who approached him outside the courthouse — and when he does, he may not want to delve too deep into specifics. In a statement issued through his promoters, Guerrero emphasized he was licensed to carry a gun in California.
Like that matters.
Someone should have told him that walking around with a gun was unbelievably stupid. The fight with Mayweather will go on — according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Guerrero’s next court appearance isn’t until May 14 — but who knows how this incident will affect his training? As SI.com’s Michael McCann points out, the fact Guerrero has a license for the gun in California means nothing. New York laws are crystal clear, and carry harsh penalties.
Will the possibility of spending the next few years behind bars weigh on him?
Will Guerrero be able to maintain his focus while being asked over and over and over again about the charges during fight week?
Guerrero has been waiting for years for this moment, for the chance to fight on the biggest stage. And in an inexplicably foolish moment, he may have hurt his chances to take advantage of it.