Steelers Got a Gun for the Thumb

UPDATE 2: Brian McCarthy from the NFL PR office says, via e-mail, "We do not have a comment. I would refer you to the Pennsylvania State Police." McCarthy also gave us the NFL's policy on guns, which we've added to the end of the post.
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↵UPDATE:
While the Daily News had the story today, it seems the images had been circulating for quite some time, as Pittsburgh blog PSAMP had images in January. News travels fast, but sometimes not that fast. We have an e-mail into both the Steelers and the league too see if they were aware of the photos before today's report. ↵

↵While most teams celebrate winning a Super Bowl by visiting one of Disney’s famous theme parks, the 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers did so in a different way – shooting confiscated assault weapons into the air. ↵

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↵ ↵The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that at least 14 members of the Steelers took part in what the paper is calling a ‘shooting party’ with Pennsylvania State Police troopers in 2006. The images recently began circulating, hence a three-year old story became news today. ↵

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↵ ↵

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↵The Daily News covered the story from the news angle, taking to task those in the State Police who allowed this sort of party to take place, bringing up both safety and economic concerns. DN scribe Dana DiFilippo has an anonymous state police source who explained: ↵

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↵⇥"It's a state police firing range used for state police to train. When we're there, it's downright military," said one state police official, who requested anonymity. "But at this event, it's chaos. Everybody's throwing contraband assault weapons around like they're toys; it's like they're having G.I. Joe tryouts. Not only is this totally unethical, but it's totally illegal.” ↵
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↵The economic issue stems from the fact that the ‘party’ took place during a time when all the bullets were being counted ... literally. The State Police were under strict orders to limit the number of training rounds used to help with the Pennsylvania’s state budget. But you guys won the Super Bowl so have at it, fellas! ↵

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↵The images are quite hilarious. Giant football players holding giant weapons -- many of which were illegal firearms seized in state police raids – posing with gaggle of older Pennsylvanian women in sun dresses. Hilarious, until you realize the guns were loaded, and those holding the guns had no formal training (and seemingly no training at all with guns, right? Right?) ↵

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↵⇥Most disturbing is a group portrait of the athletes and troopers, in which two players adopt gangster poses and point their firearms at their comrades' heads. In that image, Maj. Harvey Cole Jr., who was the troop's commander but who now heads patrol at the department's Harrisburg headquarters, stands smiling behind a kneeling, gun-toting Joey Porter, at the time a Steelers linebacker. ↵
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↵So far, per the Daily News, the Steelers have no comment. Today, the NFL community will be more interested in the comments of Roger Goodell than anyone else. ↵

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↵UPDATE 2, cont'd, with NFL Gun Policy: ↵

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↵The league also sent over their guns and weapons Policy. We have bolded some items for emphasis. ↵

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↵NFL Guns and Weapons Policy ↵

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↵(This policy applies to all employees of the NFL and its member clubs, including players.) ↵

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↵Prohibitions. Whether possessed legally or illegally, guns and other weapons of any kind are dangerous. You and your family can easily be the losers if you carry or keep these items in your home. You must not possess these weapons while traveling on League-related business or whenever you are on the premise of the following: ↵

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↵* A facility owned, operated or being used by an NFL club (for example, training camp, dormitory, locker room, workout site, parking area, team bus, team plane, team hotel/motel); ↵

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↵* A stadium or any other venue being used for an NFL event (for example, a game, practice or promotion); ↵

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↵* A facility owned or operated by the NFL or any League company. ↵

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↵Put simply, the League, the Players Association and law enforcement ↵Authorities urge you to recognize that you must not possess a gun or other weapon at any time you are performing any service for your team or the NFL. ↵

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↵Legal Possession. In some circumstances, such as for sport or protection, you may legally possess a firearm or other weapon. However, we strongly recommend that you not do so. Any weapon, particularly a firearm, is dangerous-especially so when it is in a vehicle or within reach of children and others not properly trained in its use. ↵

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↵Understanding the Law. If you legally possess a weapon, you must understand the local, state and federal laws that apply. The NFL Security Representative in your area will help you get information about these laws. You should be aware that if you take a weapon from one place to another-for example, across state lines-a different set of laws may apply in the new place. ↵

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↵Discipline. If you violate this policy on guns and other weapons, you are subject to discipline, including suspension from playing. And if you violate a public law covering weapons-for example, possession of an unlicensed firearm-you are not only subject to discipline, including suspension from playing, but also subject to criminal prosecution. ↵

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↵Remember, be careful and understand the risks. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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