'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. petercha

    We need to reintroduce prayer and the Bible into our public schools. People need to be taught a moral compass from day 1.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. k

    Costa's is a nimrod. the guy emptied the gun into her. He would have killed her one way or another. I blame costa's for his stupidity and ignorance just like I blame the shooter. I don't blame the NFL or the gun.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • BroncosAllTheWayToTheLombardi

      Many deaths caused by people using guns in the heat of the moment may not have occured if they didnt have guns lying around. Not trampling on anyone's rights – but just an opinion.

      And how about them Broncos eh.

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

    Guns don't kill people....People kill people. What's next? knife control or ax control! Maybe we need more self-control or comon-sense control...What about all the above!!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Liberals think words and youtube videos kill, so guns don't stand a chance. Time to start stockpiling that ammo

      December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hampton

      Yep. Trying to say guns kill people are like saying spoons make people fat. It is the intentions of the person, not the object.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • flabbergasted

      People kill people, not guns?

      Person A is angry. He only has a knife. He runs into a mall and starts stabbing people. After the second person gets stabbed, everyone runs away. The police arrive, and person A is shot.

      Person B is angry. He has a gun. He walks into a mall and opens fire. A half dozen people are hit before anyone knows what is going on. Everyone runs away, and he shoots at them while they flee. The police arrive, and Person B dies in a shootout.

      In both situations, someone decided to take their anger out on society by going on a killing spree. Person A could only get a few people. Person B could get alot. Yes, we will always find ways to kill each other, but guns make it *much* easier.

      ================

      Or perhaps you'd like to look at it this way. "Nukes don't kill people, people kill people! So let's let Iran get a nuclear bomb."

      You see where this logic leads? If crazy people have weapons of mass destruction, then we are all in *more* danger. Sure, Iran could decide to invade Israel (just like person A had a knife), but if Iran has a nuclear bomb (like person B had a gun), then the potential for mass death increases. This is why we need gun control! It doesn't mean that nobody can have a gun (just like the US can still have nukes), it just means that people who shouldn't have them don't get them.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derp

      We need baseball bat control. I heard a story today of a guy beating his wife with a baseball bat. Clearly the bat is at fault. We should also ban baseball immediately, those players can be nothing but domestic abusers who are forcing their way of life on the rest of us.

      Please, for the sake of women everywhere, ban baseball!

      Derp

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

      Flabbergasted you are really stupid.

      If ordinary citizens can't own guns, the criminals will still own them. So in your scenario, the gunman keeps shooting people until the cops finally come.

      In a society where guns are in fact owned, after crazy gunman takes out his gun and shoots anybody, he eats 8 bullets from all the other gun owners putting him down. That just saved lives.

      But you can't think logically, you just want to say: "guns are bad, mmmkkkkaay?" because you can't think for yourself.

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

      Many deaths caused by people using guns in the heat of the moment may not have occured if they didnt have guns lying around. Not trampling on anyone's rights – but just an opinion. Guns when used as directed injure and kill.

      And how about them Broncos eh.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • oregonreign

      hey BRONCO guy, take out 'gun' and insert weapon. hmmmmm

      December 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon

    " If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.""

    What a Liberal douche Bob Costas is. Yeah, no guns would mean all the mean and crazy people would stop being mean and crazy. Ban guns, then we will need to ban knives, then sticks and stones. Time to ban pencils for all of the misspelled words I see every day.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris H

    People kill People, not guns. Since the beginning of time, humans have been committing murder. Be it a dagger, a spear, sword, axe, fists, rope, glass, tree branch, whatever the human can use. It's foolish naivety to believe that humans will not find anyother way to kill by taking away the guns from responsible and law abiding US citizens. For Bob Costa to use the NFL as a format to express his unsolicited personal opinion, was wrong.

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

      Hmm...I wonder...

      If a person has a spear and walks into movie theater with the intention of killing everyone, how many will he get?
      If a person has a gun and walks into a movie theater with the intention of killing everyone, how many will he get?

      Guns are weapons of mass destruction. They are meant for one thing and one thing only: killing people in an efficient manner. I'd much rather someone attack me with a spear than a gun.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • oregonreign

      Good for you flabbergassed! I'd rather pull my gun on either person attacking.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Luke

    Tightening gun control won't help with shootings. It only makes it harder for law abiding citizens to exercise their 2nd amendment right. People who want to do harm to others will do so by any means available, with or without guns. That said, people who can't obtain a firearm legally will get one illegally by stealing one or getting one off the black market if they want one. Gun laws won't help. They only exacerbate the problem. Stolen or otherwise illegally obtained firearms can't be properly tracked should someone commit a crime with one. Say someone commits a crime with an illegal firearm; ballistics checks will hit a brick wall because the bullets striations and empty casing can't be traced to the unregistered owner. Maybe if people actually put a valid thought into it things might make sense other than to say "Guns kill people".

    "Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of himself without that law is both."

    December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. no nothing

    All of the gun laws in the world will not stop someone determined to gun someone down.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dustin Harris

    It takes the working brain of a human, and one hand with fingers to pull the trigger of a gun. therefore the phrase, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people", would make perfect sense. Guns are not the issue, the issue is with people like Bob Costas, trying to "make a difference" on a subject, in which, he has no knowledge or experience with. FIRE HIM!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Time to move on to the next mass slaughter. We're already bored of this simple murder-suicide. Hasn't it been two weeks or so since someone with an arsenal has gone ballistic? How dare anyone suggest that I don't have the right to walk around city streets armed to the teeth.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jim

    Ahahahah. Really? OJ killed more people with a butcher knife and somehow this wouldn't have happened if there were no guns? Come on guys.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      No one can say OJ killed anybody since the serial killer on death row has admitted to the murders. Family members and friends have confirmed that he knew nicole and was in the southern california area when she was killed.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. harriet

    Wow, I guess Bob touched a nerve there. All the scared ones shouting – especially Paul with his all caps – and carrying on, why is it not possible to even have a discussion about gun control? Before you go all "cold dead hands" on us all, try to remember that two people died and from being shot. Would they still be alive if he hadn't had a gun? Who knows. Would he had time to think and possibly cool down? Maybe. But would it kill us (pun intended) to sit down as a country and ask ourselves if maybe there is room for some better approach to this? Is it maybe possible that some gun control is not the slippery slope to taking away all your guns but in fact a away to make you just a little safer.

    OK, carry on with the macho ranting....

    December 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Yeah! Gun control is working well in Washington D.C. & Chicago, isn't it?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigD

      Thanks for your input Harriet. Back to the old folks home for you.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccw holder

      lets just cut out the middle man shall we? lets ban murder, then it wont happen.

      and we cant have a discussion about it because the anti-gunners only want one sided discussion, THEIR side. seriously, go on the brady campaign's facebook (or any of the anti-gun pages), say: "im pro-gun." that's it, and watch as you are banned from commenting within 5 minutes. im not even joking.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • oregonreign

      We already have gun laws in place. What would you suggest? Waiting period, have that. Background checks, have that. Who are you to define what personal protection is for each individual? You ever see what meth does to people? Lets ban meth, oh wait they have and still can get it.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ditto

      In the case of this murder/suicide I have not heard wether the gun was purchased legally or illegally. I do know that many law abiding citizens go through a process to purchase handguns legally for the purpose of sport as well as for personal protection. The major issue I have with handgun control is the fact that many crimes that are enacted are done so with firearms that are obtained illegally. Therefor how much will handgun control minimize crime?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ronnie Harper

    You morons would do well to listen to Bob Costas, who's pinky finger has more intelligence than the vast bulk of the posters here combined. Nobody has a 'right' to own a handgun, that's a lie perpetrated by big business. It won't be long before guns are outlawed entirely in the USA. Think about it carefully, think about how most other industrialized nations have outlawed them, and you will eventually have to admit that citizens should not be armed. It's categorical.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • oregonreign

      Interesting post. One-party rule systems love sheep like you.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • A smart gun owner

      No one has a right? Have you ever read any of the documents that created this country? It explicitly states Americans have a right to bear arms. Whether you have the intelligence to correctly utilize these firearms is a completely different matter.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      ..like I said, it works soooo well for the countries & cities that outlaw gun ownership. Maybe do some research before commenting on a subject.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccw holder

      oh yeah, lets have the entire nation be like chicago. the strictest gun control laws in the nation and more murders than soldiers killed in afghanistan. sounds like a gleaming utopia.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pudding Pop

    Guns are for idiots and killers.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan Coswell

      Project much?

      December 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigD

      So is your post

      December 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. barclay donaldson

    ...lax/easy gun control is a nation of greatness rotting from the nside..

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

    I can't believe the comment from Bob Costa, It reminds of the stupid comment, “If it weren’t for football I wouldn’t be playing football today” What would he have said if he would have killed her with a baseball bat? Outlaw baseball???, how about if he would have run her down? Outlaw automobiles???. Do you really believe the problem was the gun? I guess his mental state wasn’t the issue. Maybe due to the potential violate nature of the game of football could have been major factor in such a violate act, I guess you better outlaw football then. Bob this was not the place to be expressing your own political agenda, maybe it is time Bob Costa is outlawed.

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