Eagles' players defend gun ownership after Josh Huff arrest


While apologizing and explaining his actions that led to an arrest and possible subsequent consequences, Josh Huff made sure to point out that he isn’t the only professional athlete who owns a gun (see story)
In fact, he clearly feels like he’s a part of the majority. 
“I’m a professional athlete,” the Eagles' wideout said on Wednesday afternoon. “What professional athlete don’t have a gun?”
That’s a good question. 
Whether athletes have guns for hunting or protection purposes, how many players within the Eagles’ locker room actually own one? 
In a straw poll conducted by CSNPhilly.com on Wednesday afternoon, in which participants were granted anonymity, nine of 16 players polled (56 percent) said they currently own a firearm. The players, chosen at random, own them for one of two reasons: hunting or protection. 
“Just depending on the situation, I think,” Fletcher Cox said. “Most professional athletes, I think, do own a firearm. It could be for protection, protecting their family, or just other things like me, man. I'm a big hunter. I love my firearms.” 
Almost all the players polled, whether they owned guns or not, understood why a pro athlete would want to have a gun to protect himself and his family – the thinking is that they have a target on them because of their profession and wealth. 
Head coach Doug Pederson, who owns guns as a hunter, was on the other side of that fence Wednesday. 
“I don’t necessarily understand why they need guns outside of maybe sport hunting or whatever,” Pederson said. “But we just continue to educate our players and try to curb it the best we can.”
While many of the players polled in the locker room on Wednesday afternoon understood why a player would want to have a gun for protection, they were also very critical of the way Huff handled this particular situation. 
In addition to having marijuana, which likely led to the DUI charge, and hollow point bullets (which are illegal in New Jersey), Huff was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. That’s the big charge. 
Huff has a permit for his Smith & Wesson 9MM in his home state of Texas, but New Jersey does not recognize that license. Cox said the team has even had meetings about gun laws in different states. 
“You can have a gun,” said one player who owns a firearm. “I have a gun for protection. But you just need to know the laws. I know the laws, so I don’t carry my gun here. You just have to know better.” 
That same player said he keeps his gun at a home in his home state, where guns are not only more commonplace but also, he feels, more necessary. 
“You just don’t know the types of situations players are in or where they’re from,” he said. “Not all of us can just afford to move our families out to the suburbs. Sometimes (athletes) need to be able to protect themselves and their families.”
Along those lines, Huff referenced his upbringing in Houston on Wednesday. While Texas is a notoriously loose gun-law state, Huff also said, “You can’t trust a lot of people in Houston. There’s always someone out to get you.” 
The 25-year-old Huff even said there have been several instances in his hometown where he’s lost a friend to gun violence. And at times, he claimed, he has felt that his life has been threatened. Those past instances make him feel like he needs a gun for protection today. 
“I have a wife and I have a son at home,” Huff said. “My job is to protect them at all costs and my job is to protect myself as well. I know they have security here, but I have to protect myself as well.” 
Most of the players polled Wednesday cited similar circumstances when talking about which of their teammates owned guns. If a guy grew up in an area of the country where guns are more prevalent, they own guns. Or if they live in or travel to a place where protection is more necessary, they own them. 
But it isn’t always that cut and dry. 
One player who was raised in an area of the country where gun laws are traditionally more lenient said he doesn’t own a gun simply because they “scare the hell out of [him]” and he’d be more worried about doing damage to himself or his loved ones if he had one. 
On the flip side of that, another player who owns a gun said just about everyone he hangs out with on the team has a firearm too. He thinks it would be foolish for players to not have protection. 
During his six-minute session with reporters on Wednesday, Huff made it clear that he didn’t bring his gun on the NovaCare Complex premises, saying, “I’m not Gilbert Arenas, bro,” talking about the former Washington Wizard who once infamously brought a gun into his locker room.  
Huff also said that following Nigel Bradham’s arrest for trying to bring a loaded gun through airport security a few weeks ago, the team didn’t have a meeting about guns or gun safety. 
Maybe it’s time. 
Because while every pro athlete doesn’t own a gun, like Huff intimated, plenty of Eagles do. And it’s an issue that’s not going away anytime soon. 

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