USA TODAY Sports
With the national media in town Jim Boeheim went off on a derisive topic. Using his right to question another.
We're so quick to defend our basic freedoms. That's one thing America certainly seems to be unified on. Religion, abortion, the weather? Not so much. But the first instance someone tries to tell you what to do, take something away, or tell you where to go, we all become historians, "You can't make me, check the Constitution. I know my rights! "
The horror of last Friday, unspeakable and too enormous for me to try and articulate here in a snarky sports site, has just about everyone talking about these freedoms we are all supposed to have. Sean's brilliant take effectively speaks for me. Let me be clear about that. And, really, with Sean's piece I had no business writing a post on the tragedy.
But that changed last night for me. Listening to Jim Boeheim, the legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach, on the very night he made even more history, take his platform to speak his opinion on guns, gun control, and general common sense. Addressing the media and listening public, while admitting there is a place for guns in America, Boeheim called for the end to people having access to "assault weapons." And he didn't just say change needs to be had, the winner of 900 things that have nothing to do with politics called on the powers that be to do something about it.
This is about us.
This isn't about the President or those other people down there. We need to make them understand. Somehow, this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now.
"This is about us," rings over and over again in my head. That horror of last week, while we'll never know their pain and suffering, or how difficult life for the survivors will be, is ours. Ours to remember and ours to try and prevent from ever happening again.
Boeheim took a position as a community leader, hoping to stimulate what he feels is necessary change. But reading the comments on some of the sites today, you see a lot of the usual, "stick to sports!" Presumed gun-lovers upset that a coach would take a swipe at their right -- the right to bear arms. That good old Second Amendment.
The irony, however, is most of those people crying about their right being violated are attempting to silence Boeheim's. That First Amendment gets tossed away if it involves someone speaking opinions you don't like, doesn't it? Suddenly there's a level of importance, where the Second Amendment trumps the First. He can't say that, it's my right to have guns.
Of course, Boeheim isn't talking about "guns" he is talking about, "assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing." Maybe he's also talking about the main weapon involved in the massacre -- maybe not. But he's talking and it's his right, and if he doesn't speak up, or if people like him, in high positions, don't, then who will?
As Brent Axe point out, there are no rules at a presser -- coach shows up, takes questions if he wants, says what he wants, then bolts. Period. If you don't like it, you have another right, too, don't listen.
But, while Boeheim's words Monday night seemed to create some real national buzz, I think it's important to point out that Boeheim didn't just throw them out without thought. The coach told the Dan Patrick Show he knew there would be more of a national scene because of the night's importance. Wife Juli told Donna Ditota her husband had been watching the news all day prior to the game. So, with everything heavy on his mind, Boeheim used this heightened platform to call for change, to put pressure on local, state, and national leaders -- because love or hate guns, what happened last week can't happen again.
That's unacceptable because he's a basketball coach? But just about everyone can flood Facebook and Twitter timelines with opinions on EVERYTHING? I swear I hit refresh on my Facebook feed and I see someone posting about how guns save lives. Refresh again and I see how deadly they are.
Him speaking his mind is a violation of...something? Boeheim isn't telling people who to vote for, here. He's saying antiquated laws need to be refined. Simply, having Call of Duty style weapons available for purchase isn't the best idea. And yes he is "just" a basketball coach, and yes he is calling for a change or some altering to a basic right.
Yet, at its core, this battle over rights, the Second Amendment v. the First Amendment, isn't about guns or speech, it's about trying to stop what happened last week from happening again. That's why Boeheim spoke and that's why I decided to write about it. It's about trying to figure out what is necessary and what is not in a society, in a community. It's about so much because this is about...us.