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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. jim

    Yeah don't blame the person that did it, blame his guns or his violent video games or his head injuries. There's no way it could ever be his fault for losing control and killing someone.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Im

    Bob Costas in barely a sports commentator.. lets not confuse him with a journalist

    December 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TownC

    Don't know why this man did this. Blaming the gun is easy. Whether or not we like guns or if we blame them or not, the inconvenient truth is that owning guns is a constitutional right. Many people die in auto accidents and some even use cars to hurt others, but we don't ban them.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. petercha

    We need to re-introduce prayer and the Bible into public schools. I'd be willing to be that fewer things like this would occur if people were taught a moral compass from day 1.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MontanaSon

    Ban the NFL. It's violent, outdated, unecessary. It's not a big part of my personal life. Therefore, ban it.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polakurwa

      Well some people enjoy it, so you go ahead and go back to your wussy golf, and let us real man enjoy Football in peace.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • MontanaSon

      Polak, take some classes in sarcasm. Or...wait. Just take some classes.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NorCalMojo

    If he was Joe Schmoe who shot his girlfriend because he'd lost his job and was losing his home to foreclosure we'd call him a cowardly egomaniac. Since he's rich and can run fast with a ball, people break their backs bending over to find excuses for it.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mark

    Doyline, LA: an eldery couple defends their home from a home invasion. Guess what the elderly couple used to scare off the thugs: A GUN!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TownC

    Don't know why this man did this. Blaming the gun is easy. Whether or not we like guns or if we blame them or not, the inconvenient truth is that owning guns is a constitutional right.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ASClark

    Mr. Costas is avoiding the real issue. The issue is that an individual made a decision to commit a crime, perhaps in the heat of passion, but a decision none the less. If he were still alive we would prosecute the individal, not the implement that he chose to commit the crime. Since firearms are inantimate objects, they are incapable of making decisions and are thus not responsible for the criminal acts of people using them for illegal purposes. Mr. Costas is gultiy of blaming everyone and everything except the perpetrator of the crime. Let' s hold the perpetrator responsivle for his criminal actions and not punish those who had no involement by restricting their civil rights..

    December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Valkyrie612

    That's right, "Guns aren't the issue." Our obsession with guns is.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan Coswell

      It's an obsession with freedom and I'll take it.

      As for you, you can move along and 'trust' the powerful to grant it. Not me.

      I learn from history.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Daryl

    @Mark – seriously? The 1st Amendment is more important than the 2nd Amendment? All the Amendments are of equal importance, they aren't ranked. That's like saying the first of the 10 Commandments is a lot more important than the 10th.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      This explains why these progressive libs are eliminating our rights from the bottom up.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • uniblob

      Daryl, really? There is an amendment that says you do not have to let a continental solider stay in your house after the war.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      @Rob: last I checked, Conservatives were the ones trying to take away our Constitutional rights:

      14th Amendment–anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen. Conservatives say no.

      4th Amendment–unreasonable search and seizure. Conseravtives say no–strip search people at airports, read everyone's e-mail, stick ultrasound wands into women's uteruses.

      1st Amendment–free speech. Conservatives say no–still can't say bad words on TV to this day.

      Constitution states any valid contract in one state is valid in any other. Conservatives say this doesn't apply to same-sex marriage contracts

      December 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • geraldh

      Um actually the first commandment is more important than the 10th. Though I don't know that they are all ranked in order.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TownC

    Don't know why this man did this. Blaming the gun is easy. Whether or not we like guns or if we blame them or not, the inconvenient truth is that owning guns is a constitutional right. We can't solve our problems by taking away constitutional rights

    December 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 'handguns don't make us safe" ?

    Tell that to the people that use it every day to protect themselves or their homes. There are incidents EVERYDAY where people use a gun to protect themselves but we don't get those reports EVER from mainstream media. I get emails every day on the those who use guns in their defense or safety and it is ONLY from those local news stations that report it. Guns do save lives for those who use them responsibly. Without a gun Belcher would have simply stabbed her to death...repeatedly. I will never vote for any politician who is for any 'ban' on handguns, common sense laws (ie. background checks, training etc.) make sense but banning will leave more innocents and law-abiders waving in the wind for criminals to kill or threaten with their ILLEGALLY obtained gun.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • stacy

      Yes brandon and you need to be shipped back to europe and worry about gun control there. Since we people need to be shipped back to where their ancestors came from.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAC

      A good example of that was a shipmate and friend was at sea in the Navy when a suspected rapist who was wanted broke in their apartment and was leaning over the bed when she was awoken. She pulled the 357 from under the pillow and put three shoots in the rapist chest and sent him to H E L L.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg Faith

    Did he legally purchase the weapon? Was he mentally unstable at the time of the purchase? Did anyone on the team see that he was troubled? Some questions just to start. I'm saddened by the fact the child is left behind to live without loving parents. The child will never know them. And when the orphan is old enough to be told they both needlessly died by a terrible murder / suicide what a time and place I wouldn't want to be informed. The individual will live with that forever. The NFL will never be the same to me. One more notch in Hillary's UN Gun Grab attempt. Member NRA 1976

    December 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ja

    gun control is great, on flip side, war is the thing our politicians can agree on, then america was founded on a violent note

    December 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
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