'One of everyone's favorite teammates'
December 3rd, 2012
10:17 AM ET

A gun control halftime show: Should Bob Costas have spoken out on Belcher suicide?

There are a few things you can usually expect out of an NFL halftime show. A debate about gun control isn't one of them.

But Sunday wasn't a normal day in the NFL. It was two days after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins, his girlfriend and the mother of his child, before killing himself outside the front door of the Chiefs' practice facility.

It was shocking. And it was expected that this tragedy would seep through into Sunday's football coverage.

But many people were not expecting Bob Costas to make a plea for gun control.

During halftime of NBC's "Sunday Night Football," Costas blamed the nation's gun culture for what happened between Belcher and his girlfriend, remarks that set off a heated debate about whether the sportscaster should have launched into what some called a "rant" on gun control.

Here's a transcript of Costas' comments:

"Well, you know that it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again: Something like this really puts it all in perspective.

Well, if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective.

You want some actual perspective on this? Well, a bit of it comes from a Kansas City based-writer, Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree but who today said it so well today that we may as well as quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.

‘Our current gun culture,' Whitlock wrote,  '... ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenaged boys bloody and dead. ...

'Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.'

In the coming days, Jovan Belcher's actions and their possible connections to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today." (You can read Whitlock's column here.)

Costas' remarks seemed to send the Internet into an immediate feeding frenzy.  Was it appropriate for him to talk about a political issue during a sports show? What is the right forum for this kind of discussion? Was he only saying what everyone else was already thinking? The comments kept flying:

Costas declined to comment on his remarks.

Gun control has always been divisive. If you remember, it had been practically impossible to get the presidential candidates to talk about the issue. "Saturday Night Live" even mocked the candidates' avoidance of it during a skit on the presidential debates.

There was equal outrage online Sunday regarding CBS' football preshow, which took five minutes before mentioning the tragedy and seemed to feature more about a Victoria's Secret fashion show and hard-hitting commentary about the color of the anchors' ties instead of a serious issue.

The main point here may be you can't please everybody. There will always be critics when it comes to an issue that sparks such intense debate. But does that mean you don't even touch it? Or did Costas' comments do exactly what he may have intended reigniting the debate over gun control?

Opinion: Manhood, football and suicide

Let us know how you feel about Costas' remarks in the polls below and sound off in the comments. We'd love to hear your take on the issue.

soundoff (1,256 Responses)
  1. biff

    Bob was just exercising his First Amendment rights. How about a deal Bob? You get your First Amendment rights without speech control laws and we get to exercise our Second Amendment rights with the gun control laws. If you are able to read Bob. Gun control laws are a violation of the 2nd Amendment as it clearly says the rights of the PEOPLE (meaning the average citizen) shall not be infringed. All gun control laws constitute and infringement.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Josh

    Huh, 14,000 or so annual gun-related homicides in the United States. Each a tragedy, no doubt, and the cumulative number is almost shocking. But let's put this number into perspective...there are approximately 195,000 deaths each year attributable to medical errors in US hospitals. So you're 14 times more likely to die from a hospitals mistake than you are from a homicidal, gun wielding maniac. Yet I hear no one advocating for controlled access to hospitals...in fact, the argument goes quite the other way. Oh well, rant over.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    If "SHE" had had a gun.... then there might of only been one death. The one with the mental disorder and violent tendencies and a job that constantly rewards you for violence might of met his equal.

    I'm sure this wasn't the first time he has been violent towards women. It's usually a long trail of bad behavior.

    All women should carry guns. They are the great equalizer. We are not physically as strong, but my finger works in a timely manner. One beating is one too many.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I agree with you! But if that wimp Costas has his way, YOU wouldn't be able to protect yourself against the larger, stronger person. BTW, when Costas fires his ARMED bodyguards, then I may take him seriously.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RetMarine

    I agree with a lot of the posts here, it is not an issue of gun control or more gun laws; as for Bob Costas, he is just another celebrity who took an opportunity to use his status to get his personal opinion to the masses just like the majority of us would do given the chance. Every time some overpaid person commits a crime the world goes into panic mode and tries to analyze why the multi-million dollar baby was having a bad day that day...He was an extremely large and very fit man that was more than capable of killing whoever he wanted with any weapon he wanted. Was the gun used in this crime an illegal hand gun? Or was a properly registered hand gun possessed by a legal citizen? Maybe we should take all the kitchen knives out of the homes because there are so many domestic assaults with common kitchen knives. Or maybe we can start registering our kitchen knives so that we will have better control over them. REALLY.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    What a ridiculous rant, Bob. The millions of us responsible, safety-oriented gun owners would like you to perhaps try and realize that it's NOT a gun thing, Bob, it's a football playing mentality. It takes either a lot of guts and/or a lot of ignorance to be announcing a game that is essentially wild violence that is turned on, then off, then on, then off, and go on to ignore THAT and talk instead about how GUNS are the problem.

    The problem, Bob, is the mentality of the sport that you're announcing and the culture of violence that is creates in its players...but of course you couldn't possibly say that, could you???

    December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NB

    So we're supposed to gut the Constitution because a possessive, domineering, mentally ill man cannot control his rage?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. orchardist

    I have the utmost respect for Bob Costas. He loves sports with a raw enthusiasm, perspective, and intellect that is rare. If Bob wants to spend 3 mins stating his opinion about a tragedy that affects the fans of football I think that's fine.

    Bob has earned that right.

    Football is part of our American culture. When a tragedy occurs, I have no problem with a seasoned veteran like Bob taking a moment and making us think.

    Today I struggle with what happened. I want answers. I don't want to blame somebody, I just don't want preventable tragedy to strike again.I feel grief for the woman, the man, and the now parent-less child. Listening to Bob gave me the sense that he too is not unaffected and wants something more than just another reminder that is forgotten before next season.

    Bob may get censured for speaking out without probably clearing it with 100 people who would have stopped him. I hope he's left alone. He spoke out of grief and I felt it. That matters to me.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. beer immediately

    Hunting rifles and handguns I can see But do we really need a nation full of idiots walking around with automatic weaponry

    December 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Thom

    Costas: i am going to protect my 2nd Amendment rights with all my guns, since you want someone else to protect you. You outraged many Americans with such an ignorant statement. Guns taken away from good citizens then only the crooks will have them.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. likeaplan

    Why put off for tomorrow for what you can have today?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Austin

    This guy was a murderer... he slaughtered his girlfriend for no reason. Moments of silence... and all of this heart break over this guy? Are you kidding me? As for the NFL and it's anchors or what ever this guy is... get the hell out of here with your anti-gun talk. You're life is built around a physical sport that kills kids every year from over exertion, it cripples players... and cuts their lives short due. Ban football, save the lives of teenage boys.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lord Toronaga

    What exactly is "Gun Culture" ? Guns serve a real purpose and give us all the ability to say no. If Costas wants to be unarmed...good. Of course he lives in a gated community and has armed guards. Maybe he should ask if FOOTBALL has a CULTURE and it has violence issues. Seems per/person FOOTBALL has more violence than any activity I can think of besides boxing. But Bob ya see makes a living off of a sport that causes more long term harm than legal gun ownership. $$$$$$ for Bob ..... brain damage and suicide for football players.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. God

    You gun nuts get so but hurt anyone says hey guns might cause more issues than they help. Wah wah wah qq qq qq Gun nuts are people with small dicks that can't fight. Pathetic. Guns help kill why else do you need a gun? I believe there's some amendment that says i can say guns are wrong. just like there is one that says i can shoot people with the gun I have and that its OK.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Smart one....

    Hey Jason and Bob, ever heard of a knife,hammer,axe,screwdriver,baseball bat, hands,etc.
    I'm embarrassed for you guys. Listen, any moron realizes people have been killing each other way before
    guns. The problem is human evil,not guns. DUH!!!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • strgzer585

      Do you know what the diffierence is between all those things and a gun? All those things were created with a purpose that does not involve killing. I am a firm believer in the 2nd amendment but to put guns on the same level as knives, bats, etc. naive at best. I don't disagree with you that it is the person not the gun, but a gun in a scared or unstable person's hand makes that person an infinitely greater threat than without.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pete

    I think the focus should be on WHY he did it, not on what weapon of choice he used!

    December 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
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