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Bills issue statement of support for Buffalo community after latest mass murder, but the NFL can do more

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 14: A small vigil set up across the street fr

BUFFALO, NY - MAY 14: A small vigil set up across the street from a Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, where a heavily armed 18-year-old White man entered the store in a predominantly Black neighborhood and shot 13 people, killing ten, Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Matt Burkhartt for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The Washington Post via Getty Im

After one of the many fairly recent mass shootings that made many think, “Well, this will be the one to change things,” nothing changed. Nothing ever changes, not with the toxic combination of factors that has transformed any reasonable conversation about gun control into an immediate rallying cry that they’re coming to take our guns.

The political and commercial forces responsible for the hard wiring of this mindset into average, law-abiding citizens who don’t realize they’re being manipulated into believing that sensible restrictions today means a farewell to all arms tomorrow have become far too strong to undo. Meanwhile, media voices that routinely peddle the poison of replacement theory in prime time are getting louder all the time, with zero repercussions.

The latest tragedy happened in Buffalo, where an 18-year-old white man decided to target Black citizens.

Praying for and with our Buffalo community,” the Bills said on Saturday. “Our hearts are with the victims, their families and friends.”

It’s an appropriate response. But the NFL and its teams need to do more.

So what can the NFL do? Well, one of the loudest and most prominent voices when it comes to replacement theory belongs to Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

That’s not a hot take. It’s a cold fact.

“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson said in April 2021.

By the way, Fox News is part of the same corporate family that does billions of dollars of business with the NFL. It’s a broadcasting partner of the league. In other words, a partner of the league.

Should the NFL start sending unambiguous messages to Fox about its relationship with Fox News and, in turn, with Tucker Carlson? The league had no qualms (as explained in Playmakers) about squeezing the testicles of ESPN to cancel the TV show Playmakers after only one season because -- boo, hoo -- it made the NFL look bad. (If anything, the TV version of Playmakers painted an inaccurate picture about pro football because it was too tame.)

Instead, the NFL actually allowed Fox to announce one of its 2022 games on the Fox News morning show last week. After we received the press release from the NFL regarding that plan, we sent the league this question last weekend: “Do you have any concerns about associating the NFL brand with Fox News?” To no surprise, we received no response.

Hopefully, others will ask that question of Fox, and maybe of those who work there -- including perhaps a recent high-profile hire who has a very strong voice, if he chooses to use it. It’s a fair question to ask, if there’s any true desire to get to the root cause of these mass murders. The problem isn’t just the ready availability of weapons of mass murder. It’s the spreading of hate- and fear-based commentary that gives people the motivation to use those weapons of mass murder to murder in mass numbers.

That’s precisely what happened in Buffalo, as proven by the killer’s manifesto. It will keep happening, absent dramatic change.

Even if it will be impossible to ever make real strides in striking a better balance between the Second Amendment and the Sixth Commandment, real pressure can be placed upon major media outlets that give those who foment fear and hate a prominent mainstream voice. It wouldn’t be the ending point, but it could be a very good starting point.