Credit: Matt Phrem

For better or worse, one of the benefits that come with being a Power 5 college football head coach is that your pulpit is among the loudest in America. What you say matters and gets heard. So as Oregon head football coach Dan Lanning sees it, if politicians aren’t going to listen to regular people, maybe they’ll listen to him.

Oregon trounced Utah 35-6 on Sunday in a victory that put the spotlight back on the Ducks and quarterback Bo Nix. Afterward, Lanning used the final moments of his press conference to share some thoughts on the most recent mass shooting to take place in America, one that will almost certainly be the second most recent soon enough.

“I want to take a quick second to say something that’s important to our players,” said Lanning. “I wouldn’t normally hop into this, but I wanted everybody to understand this is not political in any way. As a dad of three kids, a 13-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 10-year-old, I see at times what’s going on in this country and I have a platform where it’s worth saying something about. What I’ll say right now is where is the respect for human life? I think there is a lot more than this, people can say ‘Let’s make it about guns,’ [or] ‘Let’s make it about mental health.’ Why can’t we use a common sense approach and make it about everything?

“This isn’t me taking a stance, but our players told me this spring that gun violence was really important to them. I just want to ask everybody what are we doing about it? We can continue to sit around and expect different results. Don’t think I’m sitting here talking about gun control. Don’t think I’m not talking about mental health. I’m talking about all of it. We’ve got a lot of smart people in this country, how about we do something to fix it? I know that means a lot to our players, it certainly means something to me when I send my three kids to school and expect to see them come home.

“I think enough’s enough and at some point, we’ve got to look at ourselves, take a hard look in the mirror, and figure out where we can support the people that are having problems with mental health in this country. Where can we support making sure people who shouldn’t have weapons don’t have weapons and support our law enforcement to where they can help handle situations when situations arise?

“Again, I’m not trying to be political, but I do care about human life and I do care about human decency, and I hope at some point we can take a stand and do something about it.”

Lanning’s comments followed a deadly mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine that left 18 dead and at least 13 injured. The identified shooter, Army reservist Robert Card, was found dead on Friday. He reportedly had significant mental issues, had made previous threats of violence, and had been committed to a facility earlier this year. None of that prevented him from getting access to a deadly weapon.

While some have tried to maintain a separation between the sports world and political world (as if one ever existed) more and more coaches and sports media figures are stepping up and using their platform to speak about these kinds of issues as Congress continues to fail to take meaningful action in response. Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown shared his thoughts on Thursday. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has spoken up on the issue multiple times. Even ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Chris Russo have implored politicians to do something, anything, to combat the never-ending and very preventable scourge of gun violence.

[AA on Twitter, Matt Phrem]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to