MICHAEL RUSSELL

Opinion: Jay Feely’s prom photo with gun is dad’s right to make a joke

Apr 23, 2018, 10:59 AM | Updated: May 2, 2018, 10:17 am
(Twitter Photo; Instagram Photo)...
(Twitter Photo; Instagram Photo)
(Twitter Photo; Instagram Photo)

Over the weekend former Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely posted a picture on social media of his daughter and her date before heading to prom. The social media trolls jumped all over it.

What caused this social media backlash was Jay standing in between the kids holding a firearm above the post caption “Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom #BadBoys”

The hashtag was a reference to the film “Bad Boys 2” and a scene about a father’s reaction to his daughter’s first date.

The backlash was swift and ugly. Well, what else would we expect from social media?

People, it’s time to take a deep breath and stop looking for things to offend you.

Jay was accused of everything from being insensitive to the Florida shooting victims to threatening to kill his daughter’s date.

Feely decided to respond to the backlash by posting, “The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking. I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue.”

Thank you, Jay, for not apologizing! There is nothing to apologize for, period!

In a show of support to my fellow dad, I decided to post a similar picture on Facebook and Instagram of me and my niece before her first date.

I, too, was met with a little pushback. Although my followers and friends mostly liked and replied with support and encouragement. I realize that I don’t have one tenth the social media following that Jay Feely has but the percentage of pro vs. against comments were in line with Jay’s.

Let’s just call this what it really is…hypersensitivity.

Here’s what these pictures are NOT:

First of all, they are NOT threatening. Take a good look at both pictures. Our girls are comfortable, smiling, and having a good time. There is no sense of tension or threat. The young man in Feely’s picture is in on the bit and knows that he is not in jeopardy of being shot by his girlfriend’s dad.

Next, neither post is insensitive! I’m not interested in considering everyone’s feelings before I post something. Everyone has had bad or even traumatic experiences with and endless list of things. It would be impossible to post anything that doesn’t offend someone in some way. If you are triggered at the sight of a firearm, keep scrolling!

Finally, they are NOT examples of irresponsible gun ownership. According to Guns & Ammo magazine, Arizona is the reigning champ as the most gun friendly state in the nation. We have the right to openly carry firearms. So pictures of Arizonans that contain firearms shouldn’t surprise, shock, or offend anyone.

Jay and my niece are both handling these firearms properly (OK, I’ll admit my niece had grip issues that night. Ha!). Both are unloaded and pointed at either the ground or skyward. Both have their fingers off of the trigger.

Having a picture taken with a firearm is not irresponsible.

Here’s what these pictures are:

First, these pictures are the results of the oldest “Dad Joke” of all time. We are dads — it’s our duty and right to dish out dad jokes as often as possible. The “cleaning our firearms when the first date comes to the house” or “armed dad posing with the young couple” is the patriarch of all dad jokes.

Yes, it’s old and played out but those are two of the criteria for good old-fashioned dad jokes!

Next, these pictures are celebrations of great relationships between dads and daughters (niece in my case. ’m lucky enough to be the father figure in her life).

Our girls trust us with these moments. The look on Jay Feely’s daughter’s face speaks volumes. She trusts him, respects him, and you can clearly see that this isn’t the first joking moment that they have shared. It’s most likely the latest in a yearslong line of corny dad jokes.

How about celebrating that there are dads who are there for their daughter’s prom night? Dads who are involved in their daughters lives and are present and participating in big moments like these.

Dads who actually have relationships with their daughters aren’t celebrated nearly enough.

Finally, I will not apologize for defending my family with the use of firearms. I will not apologize for teaching my kids how to do the same.

I will continue to teach them safe handling and safe use of firearms. I will not apologize for taking pictures with my kids that include firearms.

And yes, the picture is a corny dad joke. But make no mistake, I will defend my girls from any harm by any means necessary. I will arm them with the ability and tools to do the same.

Sorry … not sorry.

Michael Russell

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Opinion: Jay Feely’s prom photo with gun is dad’s right to make a joke