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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. RetMarine

    @Reef,
    I would love to hear what you consider "Black culture" that is out of control. You are a racist moron and one of the many reasons why the nation cannot move on past the Civil War.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JoeB

    A man with the strength of Belcher could kill most people with his bare hands just as easily as a gun.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hawkeyepop

    There's some truth to what Costas said, hate to admit it but some racial groups are much better off without easy access to guns.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • RetMarine

      @Hawkeyepop
      What was right that OJ would not have killed Nicole if he did not have a gun…umm she was stabbed. And what RACIAL groups are you talking about? Let's get it out there, the elections are over. Are you making an inner city comment or a white supremacy group from a farm co-op in Montanna? What group?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. joep222

    The gun is an inanimate object by itself. Would "knife control" be demanded if he had stabbed her to death? Or "Poison Control"? Or "Baseball Bat Control"? No, of course not. That is silly in the light of this tragedy. And it is silly to demand stricter gun control laws. This is a tragic event, absolutely. But the reason why people commit murder or murder/suicide is not because of the weapon, but because of sin. We all love evil. The heart is desperately wicked. We are all capable of this tragic event. It is only God's restraining hand of grace by which we ourselves have not taken actions such as these.

    Do you want to see and end to such tragic events? Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and pray that God will save us!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TD

      The first 80% of your comment was so great and then you brought religion in to the picture. Why? I say this as a believer in Christ, God will not interfere with man's will...ever. He will not stop someone from making bad choices. Christians kill people, too. Christians commit suicide, too. The issue is responsibility in our society, with guns, knives, baseball bats, ropes, pens, trophies, fishing line, whatever.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. richard nixon

    Look at the guy's photos from 2009 to 2012 and see how is face has changed. That's not normal aging, his facial structure changed due to a high amount of steroid usage. I'm not blaming 'roids for this - but it is very clear that he was jucing. If he has a bad temper to begin with, that's not a great combination.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RetMarine

    I don't know the answer to this but I am curious; what is the percentage of crimes committed by legally registered guns and their rightful owners, as opposed to the criminal argument that the crimes are committed by the bad guy who does not have a registered gun?

    December 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bernie

    Doctors kill many more each year in the U.S. than guns do. Have not heard a word from Mr. Costa about that. Oh yes, some will say I'm talking Apples to Oranges. Ah, a funeral director will tell you a dead person is a dead person.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mystery Meat

    Will Costas share the same fate as Hank Williams, Jr. for sharing his political opinion?

    December 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dogbreath

    I don't want anyone fired, I just don't like people implying that I'm crazy for owning a gun. Costas, and others, need to realize just how many gun owners there are in this country, and that we are as appalled as anyone else when these things happen.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JORGE WASHINSEN

    If both had been killed in an automobile accident would it have been different?

    December 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    It's not fair to blame the killings on guns but it definitely makes these killings to happen a lot easier. I think what we should do is a scientific studies where we can decide for sure whether if it is really good for the society to have guns or not. Without such studies, I think we will just go no where and this issue will never end with just opinionated people going at each other forever.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paul

    Guns don't kill people kill people. Owning ans shooting a gun is just as much as a sport as football which plenty of people have been hurt from. Bo Costas should have stuck to football, but he did say it was his opinion that he happen to use on national television.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zanadude

    This is ridiculous. Blaming a tool for the decisions of its user is either complete delusion or a dishonest agenda-especially when done on a large stage like a televised NFL game. This was irresponsible and just plain manipulative, so I hope Costas and Whitlock both are done in journalism of any kind.

    To seize a moment of terrible tragedies and spin them for their own uses...horrible.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RetMarine

    Why so hostile towards Bob Costas? He analyzed an issue as it related to sports, the nation, and yes football. I was not a fan of the analysis but I respect his right to to have it. Fire him! Really? If that is an viable option then everyone of us that has voiced our personal opinion on our employers time about something not directly related to work should be fired then. IDIOTS!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • TD

      Over the years, Bob Costas has shared many opinions that are controversial and should be left for discussion at the right place at the right time. He consistantly uses his position to stand on a platform and take sides with an issue and it is not his place to do so. He is a sports commentator (and not very good at that), and that is what he should keep his comments focused on. Yes, he has the right to his opinion, we both served in the USMC to protect that right. But his superiors should advise him when and where to voice that opinion.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Smoke and Mirrors

    Every time there is a high profile gun crime people try to make a case for gun control. A lack of coping skills and failure to seek professional assistance will always create problems in relationships. Belcher could probably have afforded the best therapy the country had to offer... But, ultimately not even the best therapy is 100%. Some people will still kill, commit suicide or O.D. regardless.
    I protect people for a living and need to be armed. Putting more restrictions on the good guys because of media stories like this is stupid!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Well said S&M... I suppose if we outlaw all the guns then knifes will be next? Guns are not killing people. If someone wants to kill someone... It isn't because they happen to have a gun. Jesus.. The mind set of people is unbelivable. Cars kill people.. We better get rid of them as well.. I seen more then my share of road rage. You think having a car makes people have road rage?????????

      December 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • stanleyKubrick

      Completely agree. I love my guns and would never think about using it to harm someone unless they are a threat to me or my loved ones.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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