The boss of the NBA, David Stern, has suggested – not demanded, mind you; only suggested – that the USA’s top basketballers don’t wander the streets carrying guns.
Good advice, even if Indiana’s Stephen Jackson, who recently fired a gun at least five times into the air outside a nightclub (as you do) might disagree.
“It’s a pretty, I think, widely accepted statistic that if you carry a gun, your chances of being shot by one increase dramatically,” Stern told reporters in a pre-season press conference, reported on Sports Illustrated. “We think this is an alarming subject, that although you’ll read players saying how they feel safer with guns, in fact those guns actually make them less safe. And it’s a real issue.”
Stern was quick to emphasise that he had no problem with everybody having guns at home to protect themselves and their property. That’s the American way. But the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with the players has been beefed up to stipulate that while players are allowed to own a licensed gun, they can no longer carry them on official team or NBA business.
Players’ union spokesman Dan Wasserman grudgingly admitted: “In response to issues raised by the NBA during bargaining last year, a provision was added to the collective bargaining agreement that subjects the players to discipline if they bring any kind of firearm, even if it’s licensed, to an NBA arena, practice facility, or even a team or league off-site promotional appearance.”
It’s outrageous obviously, and you wonder why the NBA stars put up with not being allowed to pack some heat while meeting schoolkids on a promotional outing.
I wonder if the AFL or NRL have ever felt a need to include a clause like that?