Charles Barkley Photo credit: CNN

Prominent voices in sports media opened their respective shows by addressing the shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl parade.

The country is grieving after a mass shooting marred the Super Bowl LVIII victory parade in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon. According to the latest report, one person was killed and at least 22 people were injured with gunshot wounds near Kansas City’s Union Station. 11 children were being treated after the mass shooting and thankfully, all are expected to make a full recovery.

Hours after the shooting Wednesday afternoon, Barkley and his CNN co-host Gayle King began their cable news show by discussing the senseless act.

“You got the greatest country in the world, any fool can go out and buy a gun anytime,” Barkley ranted on King Charles. “They don’t do great background checks and like everything else in our country, it’s become divided by Democrats and Republicans.”

Barkley offered support for the Second Amendment by noting he is a gun owner and is in favor of people having the right to bear arms, but believes it should be harder to purchase a firearm. “We don’t put enough pressure on our politicians. We don’t hold them accountable for anything,” Barkley added. “You can never get desensitized, but we’re used to it now.”

Thursday morning, Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim opened First Take on ESPN with about five minutes of emotional commentary on the shooting before taking a commercial break to reset.

“We have to be mindful to the fact that while we are empathetic and sympathetic to those with a mental illness, there are some people out here who are just vile. And they’re evil. And their definition of happiness is witnessing the world burn,” Smith said. “It just seems that as the days go on, times are getting worse and worse and worse and it’s going to be incumbent upon on all of us to come together as human beings and as a human race to offset the vile and viciousness that exists.”

Similarly, Skip Bayless began Undisputed on FS1 alongside Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Irvin where the trio expressed sadness and addressed the tragedy for nearly 20 minutes.

“We’re paid to talk about sports and sports just got invaded yesterday in the worst possible way,” Bayless said. “And children are in the hospital as we speak with gunshot wounds because they were out of school to celebrate a city’s championship. It’s incomprehensible. It’s out of my league, over my head because I’m just a sports guy. I’m not particularly political… but we’re coming down to, ‘I’m not sure what’s right, but I really know what’s wrong.’ And this is really wrong and it’s become routine.”

Dan Patrick addressed the incident at the top of his national radio program and his personal reflection on the tragic shooting, specifically the celebration taking place in Kansas City and that it could be the end of championship parades as we know it because of the potential for danger.

“I kept thinking, there’s no safe place anymore. There’s no safe place for us. We think about that, whether it’s our children in school or it’s a church, or here at a parade there’s no safe place.” Patrick said. “I’m wondering when we have these celebrations are we going to have them inside a stadium, inside an arena where you do have to have a ticket, where you do have to have security checks, where they do wand you to see if you have any devices on you or if you are carrying a weapon.”

Like Smith and First Take, Pat McAfee opened his show on ESPN with a short monologue on the Super Bowl parade shooting and offered support for the victims before making a quick transition to sports.

“We do hope that smart people figure out how these events become a lot less common going forward,” McAfee said. “That is not the way that we should live in a society in the United States of America where we’re scared to celebrate something that’s supposed to bring everybody together.”

Unfortunately, gun violence is as deeply rooted into America’s culture as football and championship parades are. Mass shootings often cause a brief pause in society, but the news cycle moves on and pleas for change will get pushed aside until the next incident.

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager led off Good Morning Football Thursday with a special message to Kansas City.

“It’s terrible for the families affected and for everyone who was there. That’s a traumatic event right there. There’s a million people there, that’s a traumatic event right there. That will stick with people for the rest of their lives. They can’t go into large spaces anymore, they’re going to be hesitant to go to parades ever again or any area where there’s a lot of people in one confined place. I know exactly where that is. I think a lot of us know exactly where that is. The Draft was held there eight months ago, exactly right there. We were all together on that stage right there.”

“Children’s Mercy Hospital is a hospital I’ve grown very close to through my work with the Big Slick charity that we do every Summer. I’ve been to that hospital. To think there are 12 kids being rushed in there to be treated for gunshots? It’s chilling, it’s horrible. The first-hand stories of these parents who had to react and jump on their children and act as human shields. How do you not be affected in some way? I don’t care where you are on the political side of things. How does that not affect you in some way, and say, ‘Gosh, this is a problem. It needs to be fixed somehow, some way?’ From a Chiefs side, I checked in with Spagnuolo, with Nagy, and Brett Veach yesterday. Not to see, ‘Can I get some news?’ No. ‘How are you doing?'”

“And every one of them, each one those individuals – and I spoke to folks on the PR staff, individuals in the front office – each one of them have a horrifying story of things they saw with their own eyes. And things that they saw with victims involved. They were done with the parade. It was over. It was the greatest day. Spags just got his new contract, Nagy’s having another Super Bowl ring, Veach just built… and they’re walking back to the busses. And that’s when the shots ring out. We mourn now. We mourn as a country, we mourn as football fans. I mourn for this city, Kansas City. It’s an amazing city and they had to go through that yesterday. And Gosh, do we pray for the victims and for any families that go through it directly. Maybe our show today could provide some sort of light. At the moment, I think rage, and anger, and support, and compassion is all I can offer.”

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day as other prominent sports media members continue to address the latest mass shooting.

[ESPN, CNN, FS1, NFL Network]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to