Less than a week after the murder-suicide committed by Jovan Belcher against himself and girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, several NFL players told USA Today that about three-quarters of NFL players own guns.
That is staggering number, compared with 40% to 45% of households in the general population that own guns, according to the National Rifle Association.
There are no official statistics on NFL gun ownership, but former Indianapolis Colts coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy told USA Today that he'd always ask at the first Colts team meeting of the year: "'How many of you guys have guns?' I was always shocked at the number of guys who raised their hand."
Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Thomas Jones told USA Today: "Most guys when they first come into the league is when they first start to realize they need protection. Because money brings a lot of positive things. But most of the time, it brings more negative things. People don't like you for what you have, for who you are. They don't like you for what you represent."
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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who owns rifles, shotguns and handguns, estimates the percentage of NFL players who own guns at "over 75%-80%."
Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, said: "It's not a culture of athletes. It is particular behavior by particular individuals that is no different from the rest of society. We've got to stop making excuses. A murderer is a murderer."
However, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan said he gave up guns "after one of my best friends got killed. That's when I had to stop. When you see so many people get killed and you witness so many deaths and go to so many funerals before you leave high school and you've got 12, 13, 14 friends die from murder or get stabbed, you get tired of going to funerals. You get tired of crying."
Kasandra Perkins' funeral was on Thursday in Blue Ridge, Texas.