Betrayed By My Friend

I want to tell you about a guy who used to be a friend. I have friends who are Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, black-white-and-other, gay, straight, Christians, Buddhists, sailors, pilots and backpackers. Probably like you, I have collected a motley crew of all persuasions.

This ex-friend is named Ed, short for Edward (as in Edward W. Stack). He’s 62. He once had a nice wife named Donna, but according to Forbes, he’s now divorced. In 2015, he purchased a nice home at 11610 Turtle Beach Road, North Palm Beach, Florida. It cost $12 million. Ed’s doing okay.

These days, our friends at Bloomberg write that my buddy Ed pays himself over $10 million a year. Yep, Ed’s a billionaire who went to tiny St. John Fisher College, whose motto is, “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge.”

Forbes said the following: “Ed Stack is the CEO and largest shareholder of Dick’s Sporting Goods. His father, Dick, founded the retailer in 1948 with a $300 loan from his grandmother. Ed and his siblings [emphasis mine] bought the company from his father when it only had two stores in upstate New York. When his father retired in 1984 he took over as CEO and chairman. He brought it public in 2002. Dick’s now has over $7.9 billion in revenue (2016) from 675 locations all over the country.”

Yep. Ed inherited Dick’s. On the other hand, he built the chain of stores from relatively little to astronomical. He wasn’t another corporate, replacement-part CEO — or not exactly. He grew up in the business selling jogging shoes, sports bras, Speedo bathing suits and basketballs.

Dicks Sporting Goods store

This is Dick’s. My former billionaire friend Ed Stack inherited Dick’s and is majority stockholder. If you shop here, you are supporting Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun, kill-the-Second-Amendment agenda. Patronize Dick’s, and you’re part of the problem.

The part of his inherited business that my friend Ed never understood was firearms (or the outdoors in general). He’s clueless about the reasons that conservationists, hunters, fishermen and concealed carry permit holders enter his stores.

Still, when Ed and his Palm Beach buds realized that the bullied kid who murdered high school classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High had purchased a shotgun at one of their stores, Dick had a weasely meltdown. He threw every conservationist, hunter, fisherman and concealed carry permit holder under the bus.

My friend Ed said his stores would immediately end the sale of “assault-style rifles” and “high-capacity magazines.” He went even further, announcing that he would no longer sell guns to anyone under age 21. To rub salt in the wound of every conservationist, every hunter and fisherman, every concealed carry permit holder in the U.S., he hired lobbyists from the Glover Park Group for “lobbying related to gun control.”

Thus, Ruger, Springfield and Mossberg discontinued all sales to Ed, but Ed (clever billionaire that he is) decided in April to destroy the assault-style rifles and accessories that he took off his store’s shelves in February instead of returning them to the manufacturers.

Ed — Ed the Benedict Arnold, the wolf in sheep’s clothing — sold me out. And there’s nothing I hate more than a weasely traitor and liar.

I shouldn’t have expected anything else from Ed. His new friends and the other members of the Dick’s board of directors (most of them owners of similar mansions) are a beanbag full of Bloomberg besties, including Terry Lundgren of Macy’s and Bloomingdales, Mindy Grossman of Weight Watchers, Katherine Krill of Ann Taylor, and Farooq Kathwari of Ethan Allen Interiors. Not one of them has ever pulled a trigger or could tell a single-action from a double-action or a pistol from a revolver. (The one outdoors person on his board is Tom Belk of Orvis, though that company no longer specializes in fishing, having long ago switched — following the lead of LL Bean — to fur-lined jock straps, martini olives and gold-embossed knick-knacks.)

Maybe it is just as well that Ed pulled Dick’s out of much of the firearms business. I will never — upon pain of having my nether parts pierced — set foot ever again in a Dick’s or Field & Stream store. In addition, I have taken him off my Christmas card list. I mean, with friends like this…