(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bring Your "A" Game, Not Your Guns

Read this and see what I mean.

It defies description, really, even if you're a huge advocate of a certain interpretation of the Second Amendment.

USA Today reports that Miami coach Larry Coker has discouraged his Hurricane players from owning guns, this after a shooting incident in which a 'Canes player was shot and a teammate chased away the assailant by firing back. Yes, he had a permit for the gun.

What actually is going on at Miami?

Is the environment for college football players there so toxic that they feel the need to pack heat to protect themselves? Is the neighborhood around the school so unsafe that the average student straps a Glock to his ankle for protection?

If the answer to the last question is "no," then if you're the parent of the average Miami student, do you want your kids hanging out with members of the football team? Based on my read of the article, it may well be the case that more than one gridder owns a gun.

I just don't know what to make of this, I really don't. Sure, kids can come from neighborhoods that are so tough the average suburbanite cannot begin to comprehend them and they feel a need to own something to protect themselves with. And, yes, some colleges are in tough neighborhoods, and even if they aren't, students, with disposable income and goods that can be easy to fence, such as stereos, TVs, computers and IPods, can be targets for crime. But generally speaking, aren't most colleges supposed to be oases where kids can get away from the type of situatinos where they would even consider carrying a gun?

It may be that Miami President Donna Shalala is all over this, along with the Miami AD and Coach Coker, are taking a stand here and are talking with the players about their problems and their need for protection -- and outlawing guns. Most companies have codes of conduct that prohibit employees from bringing weapons into the workplace, and I would guess that most colleges have the same type of code. Whether it applies to situations involving students who live off-campus, however, is a good question. That said, I'm not sure that Miami is paralyzed from acting here -- if Coach Coker sets up a team rule that says no weapons, that's the way things have to be.

Then again, as we know, things happen within college athletic programs that sometimes escape the attention of the administration (and it's hard to know what kids own and what they're doing on their own time anyway).

Especially if the team keeps on winning.

I am certain that the entire Miami administration -- from President Shalala to Coach Coker -- cares deeply about all students and just doesn't want them carrying guns. Let's just hope that they can work with these kids and keep them out of student life entirely at the University of Miami.

Before someone gets hurt.


Anonymous Jimmy said...

Hey man, I happened to stumble across your blog a few weeks ago, and I just wantedf to tell you how much I enjoy reading your pieces. Not to give you a big head, but your work is on the same level if not above that of several of the better known sportswriters in the Philadelphia region. Keep up the good work, and thanks for the entertainment. Cheers!

Best Regards,
Jimmy Duncan

8:41 AM  

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