Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the backdrop of the latest American tragedy, a mass shooting in which a lone gunman—a former student at Stoneman Douglas whose classmates correctly predicted he would orchestrate such a heinous act— killed 17 people with an assault rifle. We’re familiar with this kind of script by now. Too familiar.
Most of the stuff I want to say will remain unsaid because SB Nation and Vox Media understandably want to keep their platforms politics-free, which is a stance that I respect, and one that I will honor, albeit reluctantly. I am, after all, typing this sentence in an editing platform developed by coders who were contracted by Vox.
What I can say is that in the aftermath of events like this—or the Sunderland Springs shooting, or the Vegas shooting, or Pulse, or Sandy Hook, or one of the other many horrific incidents involving disturbed gunmen and high-powered rifles that have since faded from our collective memories—sticking to sports is not an easy rule to follow, especially if you’re a public figure. (I am not, and I prefer to exist in relative anonymity within a Twitter account that I rarely publicize.) Posting anything even remotely contentious on a public forum will obviously invite the requisite contrarian viewpoints and mobilize the opposition, which if you’re, say, a professional athlete, does not reflect well on your “brand” or whatever. Thankfully, affable iconoclast is very on-brand for Vince Williams.
His official Twitter account is here.
Thursday afternoon, Vince spent several hours posing questions about guns, interacting with followers, and absorbing insights. You don’t often see this kind of transparency from professional athletes. Vince, whose visibility was certainly pronounced by a breakout, eight-sack campaign in 2017, is taking an important step by actually promoting dialogue about serious national imperatives.
I strongly encourage you to click that link and peruse his profile if you’re able.
I also encourage you to go here to donate to the Stoneman Douglas Victims’ fund.