Most NFL coaches are conditioned to say very little of interest any time, but particularly try to stay away from controversial topics.
But Saints coach Sean Payton was willing to wade into one of the hottest debates Tuesday, saying in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting which left 59 dead that the country needed a common sense approach to gun control.
Earlier in the day, Payton tweeted out a statistic from the New York Times which more Americans had been killed by firearms in the United States since 1968 than have died in battle in the country’s history.
During his teleconference with local reporters this afternoon, he said he’s frustrated to watch the news after going through former Saints defensive end Will Smith’s death in 2016.
“I just think let’s start from this standpoint — the current protocol is not working, the current system is not working,” Payton said. “And the madness is when you go years and years and years, and say, well, and so the current policies and thoughts are flawed.
“Listen, I believe this in my heart, we as a society owe it to our children and, I mean, we have to be better in that way. I’ve made my statements clear after the death of Will Smith, and these things come up, and then you try to draw parallels throughout our world, and look, it’s hard to. It’s hard to find other countries like that. And here we are as educated and smart and forward-thinking as we think we are, and yet it’s broken and it’s obvious. So, I’ll leave it at that.”
Payton has previously said he “hates guns,” and doesn’t care who hears that message, of his tweet or his follow-up.
“Very clear,” Payton said. “And look, if that pisses people off, that’s tough. . . .
“It’s just common sense. We can quietly sit and just think it — it’s frustrating. Sometimes you see things from afar and you look, and you think it’s madness.”
Payton was also critical of President Donald Trump’s “son of a bitch” remarks about players who kneel during the national anthem, saying “I think we need a little more wisdom in that office.”
While wading into politics is something most in football avoid, Payton’s own experiences with gun violence clearly moved him to take a stand, whether it divides his fanbase or not.