Steve Kerr, a good and empathetic man, was justified and angry, and he acted nobly, as far as it went.

“When are we going to do something?” Kerr yelled after 19 children ages 7 to 10 were killed at Robb Elementary School by an 18-year-old using an AR-15 assault rifle in Uvalde, Texas, just 375 miles southwest of Dallas’ arena.

Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors, actually pounded his fist on the table. “I’m tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the, excuse me, I am sorry, I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”

Then Kerr went and coached a playoff game that never should have been played.

When a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd in 2020, the latest act in an epidemic of law enforcement brutality directed toward the Black community, it sparked waves of protest supported by every major sports league in the midst of a pandemic. The subsequent shooting that left Jacob Blake paralyzed with seven bullet wounds led leagues to shut down in an attempt to pressure lawmakers into enacting meaningful reform. It worked.

» READ MORE: Philly athletes, others react to Texas school shooting: ‘Something needs to be done.’

But, now, where are the protests? Where is the resolve? There have been 27 school shootings this year. There have only been 20 weeks in this year. If that’s not an epidemic, then nothing is.

If Kerr & Co. really cared, they’d shut down sports again. No more NBA playoff games. No more Stanley Cup playoffs. No more MLB, as if anyone would notice. Let every stadium, arena, and ballpark be silent until the Republican senators blocking legislation to institute effective background checks agree to pass the bill — measures supported by more than 80% of Americans but denied by politicians beholden to the National Rifle Association. Democrats will likely force a vote in the coming days. The complicit will be counted.

But not enough of the athletes and coaches and owners care enough to act. Few have kids, and the ones who have them send them to private schools that are well-guarded, behind hedges and fences. This sort of violence seldom affects them directly. Not my kid? Not my problem.

It’s a different story, though, when a millionaire jock gets pulled over for driving a nice car in his own neighborhood. It’s a more painful day when his unarmed cousin or brother gets shot by a nervous cop with a sketchy record.

Besides, athletes like guns, and they are notorious for misusing guns. According to a USA Today database, since the beginning of 2021, six NFL players have been arrested on gun charges. Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark was actually arrested twice ... and then the Chiefs extended his contract.

Carson Wentz famously gave his offensive linemen $2,000 customized shotguns after his rookie season with the Eagles. Shotguns were used in 15% of all mass shootings in America in the past 40 years. Way to read the room.

The coaches show outrage. The players adore their guns. But the owners are far, far worse.

They actively support the lawmakers who make sure access to weaponry remains easy and lucrative.

» READ MORE: Here’s what Pa. members of Congress have said about the Texas school shooting

Skewing Blood Red

Owners in the four major sports league skew overwhelmingly Republican in their donations, and Republican politicians skew overwhelmingly anti-gun control. Connect those dots. Or these.

Five days after a racist gunman killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket, Bills owner Kim Pegula said this at a food giveaway:

“How do we prevent things like this, how do we change a behavior and a mind but in a way that really lasts and is meaningful? I don’t have the answer.”

Sure you do, Kim. Keep giving money to people like Pat Toomey and John Boehner, Republicans who tried — and we’ll assume their efforts were sincere — to pass gun control legislation.

Stop giving money to people like Mitt Romney, to whom you gave $150,000, and who has accepted more than $13 million from the NRA, nearly twice as much as any other senator.

Thanks for the free spaghetti, but that’s not tomato sauce on your hands.

» READ MORE: These are the victims of the Uvalde elementary school shooting


The answer, of course, is simple. Make it harder to get guns and ammunition, keep better track of them, and limit the sorts of guns, ammunition, and accessories you can get. These measures have worked in other countries. They don’t eradicate mass shootings, but they mitigate them.

You know, like vaccines.

This debate, for lack of a better word, is the most draining of all the absurd conversations we’re forced to have with our disingenuous and/or misinformed fellow citizens, most of whom experience the same anxiety I experience every day the school bus pulls away from our stop.

Last week, my 10-year-old kid marched a half-mile down the street to practice evacuating her fourth-grade classroom. It was an exercise in terror, necessitated because some irritated 18-year-old who got burned on SnapChat might one day decide he’ll show everyone he’s boss, if only for a few deadly hours.

Athletes can certainly help speed along reform. How about this for a gesture: Every football, baseball, basketball, and hockey player brings his entire arsenal to the locker room this weekend and turns it in. No questions asked. Huge photo op. Huge statement. Baseball teams might have to hire a dump truck, but whatever.

It will never happen. They love their killing toys too much. They love to play with them, and they love to pretend they’re protected. They often say, “I need this in case I’m in a bad neighborhood and somebody wants to rob me,” or “You never know what’s gonna go down at the club.” Only bad things can happen when you bring your gun to the club. Plaxico Burress taught us that, if nothing else.

» READ MORE: How to help the families of the Uvalde school shooting

Of what I speak

In case you care, and not that it matters, I understand gun culture.

My father was a sniper in Korea. We had nine rifles and three handguns on our farm. He kept the 30.06 Springfield in the gun rack of the truck. He kept the .308 in the trunk of the car. He always had one of the three shotguns at his bedside. None of these guns was ever loaded. The rest of the rifles lay under his bed, bolts open, chambers empty.

He never had more than one box of bullets for any of them, and he kept the ammo in a shed out back. He hid the handguns from us kids. I never saw any ammunition for them, and I never saw them fired.

Me? I was shooting when I was 10. I was hunting rabbit when I was 12, deer when I was 14. I carried a .222 Remington in a sling when I walked the trapline every winter morning at 5:30, because the .22 rifle — I think it was a Winchester — wouldn’t penetrate a beaver’s skull.

So yes, I know which guns do what kind of damage to what sort of animals. So I know what sort of carnage it causes in little boys and little girls.