Athletes and Guns
Another viewpoint: It's not just athletes; it's more young people in general carrying guns, a byproduct of a society that glorifies violence.
Colts coach Tony Dungy believes gun ownership is "very prevalent" among athletes and non-athletes alike.
"In the 19- to 30-year-old crowd, I think that's what we are now," he said. "We carry weapons, we get the permits, we feel like we've got to have them. I won't say 'most,' but there are a lot of young men that have weapons. That's the way it is."
There have been no national studies to determine how many professional athletes carry guns, experts say. But a quick look at headlines in the sports section or on ESPN paints an unmistakable picture. A search of national media clips found eight accounts of NBA or NFL athletes being charged in gun-related crimes since 2005, 12 since 2003. Add in college athletes, and it's much higher.
Peter Roby, director of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, said it's part of a larger cultural issue. "Violence is being glorified and carrying a gun as part of a lifestyle is being bought into more than (by) the generation before," Roby said.
Yet Roby also understands athletes feeling they need protection. He said that as the gulf between the lifestyles of athletes and fans grows, players hear "more resentment and anger than ever" from the stands.
John R. Lott, author of "The Bias Against Guns," said it's only smart for athletes to protect themselves by carrying guns, though he acknowledges that's hard for the public to understand.
"People think that if anybody should be able to defend themselves (without weapons), it's big football players and large basketball players," Lott said. "But these people are real targets, because of their celebrity and large salaries. They want to have something to protect themselves."
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