ESPN delved into the issue of gun ownership among NFL players — something that was brought to the forefront after Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend to death, then killed himself in December.
There are no official numbers on how many NFL players own guns, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a lot. T.J. Ward, a safety for the Cleveland Browns, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” he thinks the number is higher than 50 percent, while Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris Johnson — who owns 12 guns himself — said it was up to 85 percent.
Ward and Johnson have vastly different opinions on gun ownership, despite both losing loved ones to gun violence.
Johnson originally owned two guns, but acquired 10 more after his sister was murdered. He said the majority are for protection, and are kept in “every location” of his house.
“I’d rather have so many than not so many. I don’t want to have the one handgun and not have access to it when I actually need it,” he told ESPN. “I think if my sister had a gun she could at least defend herself.”
Ward feels differently.
If you have a gun “you’re going to end up dead or hurt, or you’re going to end up in a situation where someone else is,” he said.
He said the practice of “stunting” or showing off, can lead to particularly dangerous situations with firearms — “it’s a show-off — I have more than you so I’m gonna stunt.”
“I think a lot of us come from neighborhoods where we’ve seen a lot of death from guns. A lot of times it might just make you go get one rather than put yours down,” Ward said.