Two years ago today, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul started the day with a van full of fireworks. He ended the day with at least one less finger.
The stunning news of the Pierre-Paul fireworks mishap led to a variety of story lines, from a stubborn resolve to return to dominance (he has) to a lawsuit against ESPN and Adam Schefter for invasion of privacy arising from the publication of medical records relating to the amputation procedure (the case was settled).
Although Pierre-Paul, who was operating under the franchise tag in 2015, lost millions due to his inability to play for much of the year, a one-year deal for 2016 coupled with a strong performance last season led to another franchise tag and, eventually, a four-year, $62 million deal.
America loves a good redemption story, but let’s not forget how this one came to be. While Pierre-Paul deserves credit for overcoming adversity, it was a self-inflicted set of circumstances arising from the same kind of nonchalance that will get plenty of others injured or worse this week when handling fireworks in an unsafe manner.
So there’s much to learn from Pierre-Paul, for good reasons and bad. On July 4, pay particular attention to the bad, especially if you’re starting the day with a van full of fireworks.