Bloomberg: NFL Needs to Push for Gun Control

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Once upon a time, I loved football season. The NFL on Sunday afternoons wasn't really a great way to unwind, but it was a fun way to spend my last day before getting back to work. Particularly if my Atlanta Falcons were doing well.

But I lost a lot of that when players decided to inject politics into sports. They'd kneel during the National Anthem and talk about oppression--it's really something when millionaires are telling you how much worse their life is than yours--and it detracted from the game.

So, I stopped watching, as did a lot of other people.

This year, the NFL actually got some pop culture traction with the whole Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce thing. A lot of new folks started watching football.

And an op-ed from Bloomberg thinks the NFL should shoot themselves in the foot again.

Now that terror and tragedy have struck the greatest community benefit of having an NFL team — the championship parade — it’s time for the league to use its considerable influence to fight against the proliferation of guns in America.

Kansas City’s celebration of the Chiefs’ third Super Bowl victory in five years came to an abrupt end on Wednesday when gunfire broke out, killing one person and wounding 21 others. Now the NFL and its fans have to ask whether maintaining the status quo is worth the risk, whether the frivolity of parades and their awkward owner dances or tossing the Lombardi trophy from boat to boat can continue in a country that has witnessed more mass shootings than days so far in 2024.

Would you want to bring your kids to a parade after at least nine children were shot at the Chiefs’ celebration on Wednesday?

We have seen the NFL throw its weight behind important causes, such as breast cancer awareness and research, and it’s pledged more than $265 million to the Players Coalition that was formed to fight for racial and social equality. Now, for the sake of the safety of its fans, it needs to advocate for stronger gun control laws.

Now why does it? Because the NFL doesn't like to allow guns at its games.

But let's back up a bit and talk about the NFL and its causes.

Breast cancer is, for the most part, an fairly uncontroversial thing to make a stand against. While particular organizations might be problematic, the fight against breast cancer is something that literally no one actually opposes.

But the "fight for racial and social equality" was part of why they lost part of their audience. It's not that people support racism or social inequality, it was that the people pushing this were basically claiming we hadn't made any progress on those issues since the Civil Rights Era.

And the way they went about expressing their opinions angered a lot of people, which pushed them away from the game entirely.

Now, what the author is asking the NFL to do is to do it all over again.

My initial anger started to subside. I missed football on Sundays and was going to tune back in next season. I still will if they don't go down this particular rabbit hole.

Especially in light of what we know about the shooters.

Both were juveniles, meaning they couldn't lawfully buy a gun in the first place. They broke the law just by having a firearm at all, much less having one present at the parade.

So just what is the NFL supposed to do? Lobby to make it more illegal for juveniles to illegally buy guns?

Or does this author think that this should just open the door and get the NFL involved in the discussion as a whole?

If so, where is the line? Should the NFL also step into the abortion debate? Should it oppose welfare programs? Where should the NFL stand on national defense spending?

Once you push an organization to make a stand on a controversial issue, you're inviting others to demand it make a stand on their pet causes. 

Instead, the NFL should stay out of politics entirely, particularly with regard to controversial issues like gun control.

Unless it likes bleeding viewership, that is.