Monday, April 11, 2016

Saints head coach speaks out on death of Will Smith; guns and a tourism whisper campaign leads to New Orleans violence

Sean Payton wants change after Will Smith's death: 'I hate guns'


    Not many NFL coaches will speak out about social issues, but New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton didn't hold back his thoughts about guns after Will Smith's death.
    Smith, a former New Orleans Saints defensive end and captain, was shot and killed Saturday night in an alleged road rage incident. In an interview with USA Today's Jarrett Bell, Payton made it clear that he wants more gun control. Bell wrote that Payton is in favor of banning guns altogether.
    “Two hundred years from now, they’re going to look back and say, ‘What was that madness about?’“ Payton said. “The idea that we need them to fend off intruders … people are more apt to draw them (in other situations). That’s some silly stuff we’re hanging onto.”
    Payton said "I hate guns" in the interview, and also discussed the violence problem in New Orleans, saying "Our city is broken."
    “It’s like our big little secret,” Payton said. “They don’t want to kill tourism. But right now, it’s like the Wild, Wild West here.”
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    The NFL world is still coming to grips with Smith's death, and it was apparent through his words to USA Today that Payton is struggling with many emotions as well. Smith was popular around the league, and the USA Today story said Smith was set to join the Saints' coaching staff as an intern.
    "I know he was going to be a heck of a coach," Payton told USA Today. "He had such a presence about him. Not only would he have made the transition to be a great defensive line coach, he had all the tools to become a head coach."
    Coaches don't often take political stands, probably in part because there are fans of each team who will fall on either side of a hot-button issue. Payton acknowledged that his views on guns might not be popular in Louisiana. But he felt the need to get it off is chest, after the tragic death of one of his most notable Saints players.

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