The sadness of the Jovan Belcher case will engulf those in the sports world for a long time.
People will wonder why it happened, could it have been avoided, and is gun ownership the cause of such tragedy.
Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress is all to familiar with the drama handguns can cause in a person’s life.
Burress did close to two years in prison after shooting himself in a New York nightclub four years ago.
Burress is saddened by the Belcher incident, but doesn’t think it will change anything, because it’s a societal issue.
“It’s not really the culture of the NFL, it’s about what’s going on in society today.”
“It will (be a topic) for a little while. But over time something else will happen, and we’ll be having the same discussion then,” Burress told USA TODAYSports by phone this week.
“Things like this happen to people every day. It just happened to be Jovan, somebody that we knew. That’s why we’re having this discussion. But it goes on in society all the time.”
Burress is aware of the stigma that violent athletes and handguns go hand in hand, but insist it’s a stigma of society that filters into the NFL.
“It’s definitely a personal thing because you make up your mind to own it,” Burress said. “Whether you want to own a gun or not, that’s up to you.
“People are going to make up their mind about what they’re going to do. I’ve had conversations with guys about my incident and what happened. Unfortunate things can happen, but it ultimately comes down to the person.
“You can speak to somebody until you’re blue in the face, but people are going to do what they’re going to do,” he added. “That’s just the way it is. You can encourage people and give them different options on whatever they want to do, but at the end of the day people are going to make their own.”
I agree with Burress in that gun ownership is a choice.
I know plenty of people who own handguns and are perfect citizens, and use their weapon for the range or simple protection.
Just as gun ownership is a choice, what you do with that weapon and how you handle adverse situations is also a choice.