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WEEI » This Just In » Hoop coaches speak out about gun issue
Wed, 12/19/2012 - 12:10pm  

Hoop coaches speak out about gun issue

A day after Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim launched into a diatribe on lax gun control laws during his postgame press conference following his 900th career victory, Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey took time during his press conference following his team's 65-55 loss to Ohio State on Tuesday night to offer his thoughts on the situation following the Connecticut elementary school shooting.

Kelsey said he wanted to take advantage of the fact that there were more media than usual listening to him, due to the fact that his club was playing the nation's fourth-ranked team. After saying he was going to treasure his time with his two young daughters upon his return to South Carolina, Kelsey said, "It's time for a change."

"I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise," he said. "But hopefully things start changing, because it's really, really disappointing."

Added Kelsey: "I don't know what needs to be done. I'm not smart enough to know what needs to be done. I know this country's got issues. Is it a gun issue? Is it a mental illness issue? Or is it a society that has lost the fact -- the understanding -- that decent human values are important?

"I didn't vote for President Obama. But he's my president now, he's my leader. I need him to step up. Mr. Boehner, the Speaker of the House, he's a Xavier guy, he's a Cincinnati guy. He needs to step up. Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up."

Boeheim was even more pointed in his comments Monday night, following a victory over Detroit at the Carrier Dome.

"If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society," Boeheim said.

Boeheim clarified that he wasn't talking about hunting rifles, noting that he has gone hunting himself. He referred to assault weapons like the military-style semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle used in the elementary school massacre last week.

"If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing," Boeheim said. "This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we don’t get out and do something about this. If we can’t get this thing done, I’m with [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, if we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have. This is about us. This isn’t about the president or those other people down there. We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now."

Meanwhile, Providence College paid tribute to the Newtown, Conn., victims by wearing the Sandy Hook Elementary School colors during the Friars' 79-45 rout of Colgate on Tuesday night. The green-and-white Nike jerseys had "Sandy Hook" on the back.

"I can't thank Nike enough, because we felt we had to do something to acknowledge what those people are going through in Connecticut," said Cooley, who previously served as coach at Fairfield, which is near Newtown. "I couldn't watch this without being moved, like so many people. If we can show the people there that we're thinking of them, I hope we've helped."




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