Posted by Sabrina B. @gametimegirl
In a column published Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Tim Keown checks in with Todd Walker â€” a youth football coach and funeral-establishment workerÂ whom he’d previously profiled, a man who “fights the gun culture and the death culture … [and] the pervasiveness that threatens to turn youth gun violence into just another annoyance of modern life.” Walker tries to impress upon his young charges that violence has consequences, that death is real and final, through hands-on horrors like detailed tours of the funeral parlor and getting inside of cardboard cremation boxes.
Walker tells Keown he saw the “Call of Duty” commercial last week while watching a game and, as you might expect, didn’t care much for it. He was especially disgusted by Kobe’s presence:
“I couldn’t believe it was him,” Walker says. “What’s wrong with him?”
“This is exactly what we’re trying to fight,” Walker says. “I’m looking at a 14-year-old boy right now who got shot in the head, and then I see Kobe get on TV looking like a damned fool, holding an assault weapon and wearing the same stuff the kids are wearing when they kill somebody. The look on his face — all smiling and happy. This is the attitude we’re trying to get away from.”
Neither Bryant nor his representatives have publicly commented on the controversy, and commissioner David Stern is also being questioned for not speaking out against Bryant’s appearance in the commercial. We’ll get into that later.
But again, as I wrote when the spot debuted, I’m not at all surprised that people would have a negative reaction to its contents, Kobe’s participation in it or all of the above â€”Â Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times andÂ Matt Moore of CBSSports.com each raised objections to the commercial, with Medina arguing that the ad “downplays the seriousness that real combat entails” and Moore taking issue with the absence of content “that really shows the traumatic effects of war.”
ByÂ Dan Devine