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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. TECHS

    Baloney! Not the time, not the place. This left-winger needs to be given the chance to persue another career; hopefully well out of the broadcast field.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. RiadaKram

    Props to Bill Chien who had the best quote of all. Yes, should we ban knives? OJ killed 2 people in a very grisly manner. Oh, wait a minute, someone from the hood just reminded me that he was found innocent.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robby

    I think we can all agree that greater regulation is needed on gun control. "Most likely" those two young souls would be alive today. there is no denying it. There is too much evidence to support it and I am tired of seeing people die. I would estimate that "somebody" protects them self w a weapon once a year versus the thousands that die to gun violence. Stop holding onto your archaic 2nd amendment. It was not meant in this historical context. It may not be 100% appropriate but I applaud costas.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. dan

    Blaming gun ownership for a murder-suicide less than 24hrs after the tragedy on prime time television! Costas should be ashamed of himself for using this as a form of self publicity! I was sickened by his poor taste. He should resign immediately.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    Who built the roads that allowed the ballplayer to get to his girlfriend's house. Who mfg the car he drove and who processed the gas he used? Who grew the food he ate that have him the strength to pull the trigger? All are to blame. It takes a v illage.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kerry Minchow

    If a mentally ill person wants to kill they will find a way to kill with or without a gun. Case in point, just last week in Casper, Wyoming a young man killed his father, the father's girlfriend and then himself. A knife and crossbow were his weapons of choice NO GUN INVOLVED!!! Perhaps we should focus more on how to help our mentally ill and less on gun control. SHAME ON YOU BOB COSTAS!!!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. budlydoright

    Outlaw football that would reduce weekend violence and head trauma and gun deaths, right? Get real' play football.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim in Marietta

      Why is Bob Costas even associated with any sports program? Ever since I have known, he has been a bag of hot air that no one listens too anyway...

      December 3, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Wow

    Bravo to Costas! They are so easy to pick up and use. It would be nice to have sound gun control, that works.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Faxon

      Sure.... like in Chicago, and Washington, DC. New York City, California.......No crimes there. Typical gun grabber who needs to exdigitate.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kim Swaim

    If someone jumped off a bridge....are we going to blame the bridge? If someone kills some with a baseball bat....will we ban baseball bats? Bob Costas needs to keep his big mouth shut about guns and go back to kissing Obamas butt!a,!

    December 3, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mark D

    Menal Illness is the real epidemic in this country. As a paramedic I see so much of it and so little is done to address the problem. The reason is becuase mental illness is a complicated problem and cannot be easily fixed by a simple law. People just want to feel safe and passing gun laws are, were any easy way to make us feel safe for a bit. The problem is that the media only focuses on the bad stories about firearms but there are so many instances where people are saved from violence like murder or rape becuase they were in legal possesion of a firearm. I believe our founding fathers got it right and put the second ammendment in our constitution right after the first. Without a second ammendment a government could easily take away our basic rights and its citizens would have no recourse. The truth is there are millions of law abiding gun owners who act responsibly everyday with regard to their fireamrs. Lets start a discussion about real problems no matter how difficult and get to work on fixing them.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Faxon

      So, every gangbanger in LA and Chicago is mentally ill? Hmmmm. Guess so. I am sure after going through a few boxes of Kleenex tissue at a psychologist's office, everything will be fine.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rod Phelps

    Perhaps if the media, reporters, coaches, scouts, handlers, etc... didn't pump these guys up to be supermen from the time they're sophomores in high school, convincing them that they're special and privileged, giving them the idea that they don't have to deal with life's little reallities, and that they have to be arrogant showmen: they wouldn't live the way do or burn out as fast as they do, or act off of the stage the way they act on stage. It's just a show and they're just entertainers. Somebody needs to tell them. I was in the Marines for 20 years and we had the sasme problems for the same reasons. If he hadn't had a gun he would've beaten her to death. The gun didn't kill the young lady, the idiot behind the gun did.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    I hope Costas is fired.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dude

    Gun control is the knee-jerk reaction of well-intentioned, but weak-minded, individuals who want to feel like they've "done something" to combat violence in society. It's not that easy. If we want to reduce violence we have to address the moral education of Americans, inadequate supervision of children in single-parent households, violence in movies/video games/sports, mental health issues, drug addiction issues, and the overall development of emotional maturity. Millions of Americans own guns safely. It's all the other little issues that add up to these violent episodes.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. KGLNYC

    When Rick Santelli went ballistic against anyone who were in over their heads with a mortgage the pre-2008 ecoculture encouraged them to take, Teabaggers and conservatives were whooping it up like a bunch of Yosemite Sams. Now when a woman was murdered by a football player armed with a firearm, they think it is beyond the pale for Costas to bring up a cogent issue in a civilized and respectful manner. The right-wing of this country is completely irrational. Kudos to Costas for standing up for what is ethical and acknowledging that gun violence and domestic violence should be addressed by the sports community and the nation at large!

    December 3, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. David

    Hey Costas, How about leaving the gun control debate for Sunday morning news programs and have a football halftime program discuss football issues?! This was a human and societal issue, not a football issue.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      So, what type of issue is football?

      Certainly not a human or societal issue...

      December 3, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
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