Ed Stack, the golfing buddy of Michael Bloomberg and CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, has a new book coming out next week that’s seems to be a first-hand account of what an amazing job he’s done running the company, including his efforts to remove guns from the inventory of his stores. The book, titled “It’s How We Play The Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference,” was written for three reasons, according to Stack: to help entrepreneurs, highlight what’s happening with youth sports, and to talk about his support for gun control, and using corporations to push an anti-gun agenda.
When Dick’s Sporting Goods pulled large-capacity magazines and rifles from stores in 2018, Stack knew the company would take a hit. In his book, he said about 65 employees “quit right away in protest, and more followed in later weeks.” Sales also dropped in the quarters thereafter, as the company predicted. It actually destroyed about $5 million worth of rifles in inventory to make sure they didn’t get back on the market.
No other major corporation had been so vocal on the topic, nor taken such a bold stance. Dick’s Sporting Goods was a lone wolf. But eventually wolf became a leader of the pack, because there has since been a ripple effect after Stack’s actions.
Gag me with a golf club. The “wolf became a leader of the pack”? It is true that Walmart has gone even further than Dick’s Sporting Goods by ending ammunition sales, or least sales of handgun ammunition as well as popular rifle-caliber ammunition for semi-automatic rifles. Other companies have asked people not to openly carry firearms in their stores. But in the sporting goods/outdoor market space, Dick’s isn’t a trendsetting company. It’s just a brand that supports gun control, turning off customers and employees alike.
“Every business has to do what is right,” Stack said when asked about this wave of recent announcements. “I applaud Doug [McMillon] for what he did. … Hopefully we can find legislative bodies to do something.”
“We all know our legislative process is slow,” he went on. “I think we will eventually get there. There will be some common-sense reform. Maybe [just] not as fast as some of us would like.”
Lauren Thomas of CNBC missed a fantastic opportunity to ask Ed Stack why, if he applauds Walmart CEO Doug McMillon for ending sales of handgun ammunition, Dick’s still has plenty of 9mm, .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and more available for sale on its website, though according to CNBC Stack has placed “the entire hunting category, including Dick’s Sporting Goods Field and Stream business” under strategic review. It seems likely that before long (perhaps even as a tie-in with the launch of his book), Ed Stack will announce that Dick’s is getting out of the gun business altogether. Maybe that’ll work out okay for Dick’s Sporting Goods, but if Stack gets his wish for more gun control laws, the only people who’ll benefit will be those who prey on the law-abiding citizens of this country.