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After getting win no. 900, Jim Boeheim takes stand on gun control

Dec 17, 2012, 11:51 PM EDT

Jim Boeheim AP

Well, it didn’t take long for Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim to move past win no. 900, huh?

After collecting the historic win, Boeheim used his platform at the podium in the postgame press conference to call for quick action on gun control after the Newtown, Conn. tragedy.

Say what you want about him — which on a night like this, is a lot of nice things — but he keeps it interesting, at the very least.

The quotes  from the press conference, coming after the Orange’s 72-68 victory over Detroit, are courtesy of Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard.

“This will probably offend some people,’’ Boeheim said, prefacing his remarks. “If we in this country as Americans cannot get the people that represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society. I’m a hunter. I’ve hunted. I’m not talking about rifles. That’s fine. If one person in this world; the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots in the thing. This is our fault. This is my fault and your fault. All of your faults if we don’t get out and do something about this.’’

I’m not going to use this space to put my beliefs in front of those looking for college basketball. But to Boeheim’s credit, he did what I’d love to hear someone with some sway do. He took a moment, even one that was totally his, and used it, as a person of his stature can do, to say something that goes beyond basketball. Whether I agree or not, it’s refreshing to see.

Anyway, he went on.

“I saw one guy, a representative I was very proud of, somebody in his state had just come out and said ‘We need more guns. We don’t need less. We need to give teachers gun so they can shoot people.’ Yeah, that’s really good thinking to do that. If we can’t get this thing done, I’m with the mayor of New York City, if we can’t get this thing done, I don’t know what kind of country we have,’’ he continued. “This is about us. This isn’t about the President or those other people down there (in Washington D.C.). We have to make them understand somehow that this needs to get figured out. Real quick. Not six months from now.’’

He’s calling for swift action on gun control. If anything, I can dig that. Though I’d like to hear the context of his line about teachers getting guns (I’d assume, knowing Boeheim, it was total sarcasm), but something has to be done. Anything. At least get the ball rolling. I think we can all agree on that. Swift action. One way or the other.

Boeheim, in his opinion, seems to want less guns on the streets.

Well, on a night that was all about him at Syracuse, the most powerful man in central New York made a powerful statement. And it had nothing to do with basketball.

David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

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