Chris Russo
Cindy Ord | Getty Images for SiriusXM

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo has tackled political and social subjects before in his career. Sometimes to immense controversy and criticism.

But the WFAN legend’s passionate call for gun control to open Tuesday’s edition of ESPN First Take – a day after 21 people, including 19 children, were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas – has received praise.

Russo, a New Canaan, Connecticut, resident, reflected on the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 and ripped politicians on both sides of the aisle after Stephen A. Smith opened the show with his own emotional thoughts. Russo also said he feels many distort the constitutional right to bear arms in a way that is counter to what the country’s founders ever intended.


“It’s absolutely absurd. America, shape up, wake up and do something. I don’t care what it is,” Russo said in part.

“I live 20 minutes from Sandy Hook. I was there five days later. That is an absolute disgrace that in nine years we have done nothing. This does not happen in Europe, Japan, China, Israel. Name the country. It happens here. The United States of America. Because of you politicians, in this case most of them Republicans, and the President. Go out there and do something. Let’s go. It can’t be that hard.”

Russo’s rant will not change anything in the big picture. But when voices like his weigh in on issues and topics that are not in their so-called “lane,” it can have a significant impact. Even more than when someone like Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who often speaks out, does the same. Look at how Russo’s former radio partner, Mike Francesa, impacted the tri-state region in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Or how his comments in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic reached cable news.

James Kratch can be reached at

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.