Shooting themselves in the foot?

Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter’s comments about the Plaxico Burress situation underscore the fact that every story has two sides. And fellow Giants wide receiver Steve Smith probably wished he had a gun when he was robbed at gunpoint a couple weeks ago outside his gated community in New Jersey.

Many gun rights groups would probably tell you they wish this story would go away, since it’s tough to make a black professional athlete into a hero. But this offers an opportunity for groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America to get in front of the story – and with a new administration on the way in, it would smart to frame the story as positively as possible.

Given that Burress flaunted many values groups like the NRA hold dear – by all accounts, the gun was improperly licensed at best and he clearly didn’t have the safety on – they can still condemn his action, which they should. However, rather than issuing a hollow criticism of a public figure, they could follow it up by offering free gun safety courses at NFL training camps.

The NFL would likely turn them down, but gun rights groups could at least say they made an effort to help players handle firearms responsibly – and in the process, earn some much-needed positive press.

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