Friday, February 26, 2010

MLB Players Speak Out Against Clubhouse Gun Ban

Baltimore Orioles DH Luke Scott has spoken against MLB's ban on guns in the clubhouse although he does plan to abide by the edict.

The ban actually took effect in the middle of last season after the incident involving former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress in which he accidentally shot himself in a New York City nightclub. Burress was subsequently charged with two counts of illegal gun possession and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to two years in prison following a plea agreement. However, MLB has sent reminders to each player and has signs posted in every MLB clubhouse.

"I don't think that everyone else should be pay for the mistakes of a few," said Scott who is entering his third season with the Orioles. I found this statement from Scott particularly interesting:

We have good security. It's hard to get in here. Barring a tactical entry where terrorists come in and hold us hostage, that's about the only thing that could possibly warrant me carrying a gun in the clubhouse. That's highly unlikely and I admit that. But my personal belief is I don't want to suffer from the poor choices of others.

Now I know MLB instituted the move not only in response to the Burress situation but what occurred between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton over a gambling debt. They pulled guns on each other in the Washington Wizards clubhouse. As it turned out they were unloaded but it was a stupid thing to have done. After all I'm sure other personnel in the clubhouse might not have been aware of the fact they were unloaded at the time. Both Arenas and Crittenton were suspended for the balance of the season by NBA Commissioner David Stern.

I'm sure their lawyers told them that if anyone be it player or non-player personnel were to get injured or killed in the clubhouse it would make the Orioles and all other MLB teams suspectible to a civil lawsuit. One can certainly make an argument for such a restriction on those grounds.

But it is well worth remembering that the incident involving Burress did not occur at the Meadowlands. It happened off the field. So why should a responsible gun owner like Scott have his liberties diminished because of something that happened at a New York City nightclub? As for Arenas/Crittenton I wonder how often in the history of professional sports that has happened? I'm sure not enough to warrant this kind of ban.

Now Scott isn't the only MLB player who objects to this rule. St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Franklin, who is an avid hunter, also expressed his displeasure. He echoed Scott's sentiments stating that "a few guys screwed it up for everybody." Franklin has been around firearms since his youth:

If you grew up around it, being in the outdoors and stuff, I was taught as a young kid how to respect firearms. First of all, you don't get stupid with it. Always treat a gun like it's loaded. That's what I taught my son and daughters. There's a place for them.

However, it seems MLB doesn't believe its players are capable of behaving like responsible adults.

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