One of the nation ‘s leading gun rights organizations on Monday leveled its sights on the San Francisco 49ers football team for pledging $500,000 to gun control efforts, including a ban on so-called “bump stocks” and firearm suppressors, declaring that the team is “definitely off sides.”
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, announced that “We’re throwing a flag on this play.”
“After weeks of protests at various NFL games that have seen players disrespect the National Anthem,” Gottlieb said in a statement, “resulting in sliding television ratings and fan disapproval, giving a half-million dollars to people who attack gun rights is worse than a clipping penalty.
“Halfway into the season,” he continued, “San Francisco hasn’t put a single victory on the scoreboard. Now they’ve essentially insulted millions of NFL fans by helping bankroll the gun control effort. That’s like punting on a first down.”
The Niners were trounced Sunday 33-10 by the Philadelphia Eagles in the team’s eighth consecutive loss. The San Jose Mercury News gives the team an “F” grade.
But Gottlieb isn’t complaining about their poor performance on the field. His criticism is about the San Francisco team’s descent into gun politics. Giving big money to fight legislation that could make firearms suppressors easier for average people to obtain, and thus help prevent hearing damage or loss strikes the gun rights leader in the wrong way.
“The Hearing Protection Act might have a chance in Congress,” Gottlieb said, “but for the Niners to give that kind of money to the opposition amounts to pass interference, and it should cost them more than 15 yards.”
The big money pledge was first reported last week. ESPN said the team has pledged “to join with others to forge a public awareness campaign centered on improving police and community relations.”
“Professional football is supposed to be a sporting event that entertains and thrills fans,” Gottlieb observed, “not help finance efforts to erode their constitutional rights. Politics is threatening to ruin the games.”
Professional football appears to be taking a plunge in television ratings as the season continues, and as players on several teams are “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem. It’s a move that has many fans turning off their television sets and going so far as burning their team jerseys and other memorabilia.