First it was kneeling during the National Anthem. In that case the NFL decided to give the middle finger to middle America and support the kneeling players. No matter that no one else in America is usually allowed to engage in political demonstrations at work. The end result is that support for the league is plummeting, TV ratings are down, the stadiums are half full, and revenues are way down.
You will remember the protests started with the San Francisco 49ers and their then-backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Now it is as if the Niners’ owners are saying, “Here, hold my beer. You ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Now, they’re trying to set the league’s moral compass once again, announcing Thursday that they are partnering with big-city police unions to back gun-control measures, particularly to outlaw the “bump stocks” that significantly boosted the killing power of the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre earlier this month.
“It seems insane to me that a citizen can buy something like that,” team CEO Jed York said at a news conference. “I’m not anti-Second Amendment, this is something that is common sense.”
The news conference was ostensibly to announce the 49ers partnership with various (mostly) California police unions to mitigate the acrimony between the police and some parts of the community. However, the majority of that news conference, according to the San Jose Mercury News, was devoted to gun control measures.
But much of the news conference at Levi’s Stadium on Thursday focused on rallying behind proposed federal legislation to ban the bump stocks, and advocating to outlaw armor-piercing bullets and gun silencers the unions contend are a significant threat to law enforcement.
Robert Harris, secretary of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, stressed that his colleagues were not trying to obstruct gun rights.
“We are unwavering in our support of the Second Amendment. We also believe that common sense laws should be put into place to protect law-enforcement officers and the citizens they serve,” Harris said. “If as a country we hope to make any progress, it will take all of us to leave our comfort zones.”
Pardon me Mr. Harris if I raise the bullshit flag over your “unwavering” support of the Second Amendment. Those armor-piercing bullets are nothing but normal rifle bullets used in your average deer rifle. As to silencers being a significant threat, I guess it is okay for your “only ones” on the LA SWAT teams to use them to protect their hearing. However, bearing in mind that they only reduce the sound signature of a firearm by 25-30 decibels to about the level of a jackhammer, if the rest of us unwashed who pay your salaries and for whom you work want one to protect our hearing, then you have a sick idea of what constitutes a “significant threat”.
The 49ers will be donating $500,000 towards “public service” ads and will be encouraging other teams to donate to the effort. How much of that content will be on gun control and how much on improving police-community relations remains to be seen.
The one voice of sanity seems to be Pastor Jason Reynolds of San Francisco’s Emmanuel Baptist Church. He is rightly concerned that the addition of gun control to the equation will diminish the larger issue of the relations between minority communities and the police.
“I’m concerned because technically, gun control was not our issue. I don’t want us to lose the larger narrative. Our concern was for communities of color who have dealt with issues with law enforcement, and how we overcome that.”
I think David Burge – Iowahawk – nails it with this tweet about what is happening.
Adopting support for gun control by the NFL will be the final straw. I suppose some of Mayor Bloomberg’s Demanding Mommies are football fans but I doubt there are enough to make up for those that will be lost by supporting gun control.
If the 49ers and, by extension, the NFL, think gun rights organizations aren’t paying attention to this move, they are sadly mistaken. The Illinois State Rifle Association sent out both email and Facebook notices this afternoon.