At least seven professional football players have given up their guns, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King. One player had the courage to admit he couldn't trust himself around them, so he gave them up.
God. Bless. Him! I wish I knew his name, and the names of the other six. I'd give them a hug, a pat on the back, and the biggest thank you.
I know what you're thinking. It was only seven, out of how many hundreds who pack heat?
I don't care. It could have been just the one. That's where it starts. That's all it takes. Just one man who says a gun will not define his manhood. Just one football player who says his life, and the lives of his loved ones, mean more than machismo. Just one man who refuses to fall for the fatal hype that a gun is more likely to protect him than kill him or a loved one, because that just isn't true. Never was. Never will be.
Black men, their hopes, dreams, families and futures are being massacred by guns, especially the young ones, and have been for a long time. A recent Children's Defense Fund report found that while gun deaths for white youths had been cut in half during a 17-year period, it had more than doubled for black youths during the same period. The No. 1 way black teens -- a huge fan base for the NFL -- die is by guns.
How sick and unacceptable is that, America? Highly. You'd better believe, we are better than this.
That's why those seven football players who ditched their weapons -- in the aftermath of Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher killing Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his infant daughter, and then himself -- deserve all the love we can possibly shower on them.
They are role models, and they are thought leaders. Other young people are watching and mimicking what they do and say and value.
Maybe because of these seven men, one less black child dies in Chicago, Detroit, or Oakland. One fewer athlete leaves his child an orphan, his mother mentally distressed, and his family in a state of shock from which some members might never recover. Maybe that one child who lives grows up to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a musician or a playwright. Who cares! Just as long as that child has the chance to grow up to be something; perhaps somebody who stops the cycle of violence in his family or neighborhood and is father to a new generation.
All because of those seven players. Thank Heaven!