On Saturday night, former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Will Smith was shot to death in an apparent road rage incident. His wife, Racquel, is still hospitalized after sustaining two gunshot wounds, and their two daughters will grow up without a father. As the NFL struggled to come to terms with this shocking loss, Smith’s teammates paid tribute to their fallen friend.
Now, Saints Coach Sean Payton has decided to speak out, telling USA Today that he felt compelled to visit the scene where Smith lost his life. He then visited Racquel at the hospital and did what he could to comfort Smith’s relatives. Then Payton dug into the details of what happened, and he was further horrified to learn that Smith was killed by “a large caliber gun. A .45.” This type of gun can kill with only one bullet, yet Smith was shot multiple times, once in his torso, and then three more times. Spurred on by emotion, Payton had some strong comments about guns:
“I’m not an extreme liberal. I find myself leaning to the right on some issues. But on this issue, I can’t wrap my brain around it. … I hate guns. I’ve heard people argue that everybody needs a gun. That’s madness. I know there are many kids who grow up in a hunting environment. I get that. But there are places, like England, where even the cops don’t have guns.”
Payton knows he’s speaking with a strong bias, and he recognizes how rare it is to make a strong political statement (especially on guns) as an NFL coach, yet he simply cannot see this situation any other way. Payton believes people can defend themselves without resorting to guns. He also feels that it’s far too easy to acquire such weaponry, which he sees as inconsistent with the Second Amendment’s original intent. Finally, the coach stresses how he’s not sure what Smith thought about guns, but he definitely loved New Orleans. But as Payton sees it, “Right now, it’s like the Wild, Wild West here.”
(Via USA Today)