Two prominent college basketball coaches, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Winthrop
coach Pat Kelsey, are among the latest public figures to join the public outry
in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders last week.
Both coaches made impassioned pleas the last couple of days, calling for
significant changes in the culture of the U.S.
Boeheim, who became the third coach in NCAA Division I history to reach 900
wins on Monday, used his post-game press conference to call for tougher gun
control laws, particularly assault weapons like the one used in the Sandy Hook
"This will probably offend some people," Boeheim said. "If we in this country
as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about
firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I'm a hunter. I've hunted. I'm not talking
about rifles. That's fine. If one person in this world; the NRA president,
anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing.
This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we
don't get out and do something about this."
Boeheim's comments drew applause from fans who came into the press room
following the game to be part of his historic victory celebration. But there
was little celebration with Boeheim at the microphone.
"I saw one guy, a representative I was very proud of, somebody in his state had
just come out and said ‘We need more guns. We don't need less. We need to give
teachers gun so they can shoot people.' Yeah, that's really good thinking to do
"If we can't get this thing done, I'm with the mayor of New York City, if we
can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have. This is
about us. This isn't about the President or those other people down there (in
Washington D.C.). We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to
get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now."
The following day, Winthrop University coach Pat Kelsey also called for
dramatic change, particularly in the American culture.
"There's 20 families in Newport, Conn., that are walking into a pink room, with
a bunch of teddy bears, and nobody laying in those beds, and it's tragic," said
Kelsey, in his first year at the South Carolina school. "I don't know what
needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done.
"I know this country has issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness
issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact, the understanding that decent
human values are important. Our leaders, I didn't vote for President Obama, but
he's my president now.He's my leader. I need him to step up. Mr. Boehner, the
speaker of the house, he's a Xavier (University) guy, he's a Cincinnati guy, he
needs to step up.
"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up. This
has to be a time for change and I know this microphone is powerful right now
because we're playing the fourth-best team in the country. I'm not going to
have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe not the rest of my
life. I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach
every day and the two little girls I get to raise. Hopefully, things start
changing because it's really, really disappointing. I'm proud to grow up
American and I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever, and it's
gotta stay that way. It's going to stay that way, but we've got to change.
A total of 26 people, including 20 children -- mostly first-graders -- and six
adults, were killed in the slaughter brought about by 20-year-old Adam Lanza,
who subsequently committed suicide after the shootings. |