Last August, photos emerged of a gun-shooting party at a state police facility in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, during which at least 14 members of the Steelers used ammo provided by authorities and illegal assault weapons from the evidence room.
The photos showed players posing with various weapons.
Said one unnamed official at the time: “It’s a state police firing range used for state police to train. When
we’re there, it’s downright military. But at this event, it’s chaos.
throwing contraband assault weapons around like they’re toys; it’s like
they’re having G.I. Joe tryouts. Not only is this totally unethical,
but it’s totally illegal.”
The incident spawned a federal lawsuit from the employee who blew the whistle on the situation, claiming that it raised serious safety problems. The process has revealed that, amazingly, the state police entrusted the internal investigation to the man who organized the shooting party.
And so it’s no surprise that Major Frank Monaco concluded that the event broke no rules, and that the controversy was “much ado about nothing.”
“They shot with personally owned weapons with the troopers. Not state
weapons. Not state ammunition,” Monaco said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
But the incident occurred while the Steelers were at training camp, a place to which firearms routinely aren’t brought. “I was given a shotgun. It wasn’t mine. It wasn’t my ammunition,”
Steelers tackle Max Starks told the Tribune-Review.
And in a strange twist, the commissioner of the state police at the time now works for the NFL, as a security official. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Tribune-Review that Jeff Miller had “no knowledge of the firing range incident until roughly two years after
Though the Steelers players face no charges or discipline from the league, it’s another example of the separate set of rules that apply to athletes and celebrities.