A handful of NFL offensive linemen were gifted shotguns by Carson Wentz, an NFL rookie QB who plays football for the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz, who grew up in North Dakota and played college ball in Fargo, is an avid outdoorsman and hunter.
ESPN reported that several linemen have expressed excitement about hunting with the gift, a shotgun that’s believed to be a Beretta Silver Pigeon. And, thank goodness for the o-line, a Philadelphia-based group known as CeaseFirePA swooped in with gifts of its own: gun locks.
Gee, thanks “Mom.”
Was that a clever, public-relations play for visibility or was the group genuinely concerned for the safety of its city’s offensive linemen? CeaseFirePA lists its official mission as “reducing gun violence,” which sounds great on the surface, but the group has a history of supporting gun control measures it calls “reasonable.” Measures include a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, universal background checks, and bans on ‘high-capacity magazines.’
The Philly Voice reported that CeaseFirePA would have preferred to hear different news about the Eagles and expressed concern that many people become gun owners without first taking safety courses or learning how to store their guns safely.
Fair enough. Many groups within the hunting community, along with state and federal wildlife agencies, sponsor programs that promote gun and hunter safety.
Wentz, since entering the league, has embraced his label as an American hunter. On his off-week back in September, he posted a photo to Twitter featuring his first bow buck. Most recently, it was reported that Mike Trout, an MLB outfield and American League MVP, spent a few days around Christmas hunting with Wentz. Earlier this week, when Wentz met the Philadelphia sports media for the last time before the offseason, he talked about using time in the woods to reflect, relax and hunt.
The Wentz Christmas gift, something that doesn’t appear terribly newsworthy by pre 24-hour-news standards, was picked up by many major news outlets. The story also inspired The Washington Post to take a look back at 1983 when famed Redskins running back John Riggins gave each member of his offensive line engraved Weatherby 460s.
But those rifles weren’t given as Christmas gifts. The Skin’s o-line earned the firearms after Riggins rushed for 166 yards in Super Bowl XVII to beat the Miami Dolphins.
— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) September 29, 2016