Big guns need not carry

FACEOFF

Should Professional Athletes Carry Handguns?

December 04, 2008|By RICK MAESE

Two points:

First of all, Bill, nice picture. Unfortunately, Goodfellas stopped filming 20 years ago.

Second, the only thing dumber than this question is your ill-thought, the-Russians-are-coming answer. This isn't Red Dawn. And it's time our athletes stopped acting like it.

I'm a major proponent of athletes protecting themselves. I think they should do what everyone else does: avoid dangerous situations. For example - and my only regret is that I couldn't share this with Plaxico Burress a week ago - maybe shady New York City nightclubs aren't the best places for married fathers to be in the wee hours of morning. A good rule of thumb I like to use: If you think you might need a gun at a certain establishment, maybe don't go there.

Of course, anywhere in public is a potentially dangerous situation for the rich and famous, but that's still no reason to pack heat. (The image of an athlete defending himself with a handgun conjures up memories of bad 1980s action movies.)

Professional athletes are handsomely paid. They can afford bodyguards. They can afford to help their bodyguards purchase handguns. But do they need one? I can't think of a single instance in which an athlete thwarted an attacker, a criminal activity or even a purse snatcher. But I can think of several times when having a gun got an athlete in trouble - or earned him a flashing-lights ride to the hospital.

When it comes to protecting yourself against the inherent risks of celebrity, it's not a question of constitutional rights. It's a matter of exercising sound judgment and common sense.

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