'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. John K.

    Obesity is out control in this country. Instances of heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes is exploding and killing more and more people in our nation every year. Are we going to ban knives, forks and spoons? After all, it’s clear that people are using these tools, as a weapon, in a manner that is harmful to themselves and others! That’s in essence the same argument Costas made last night. How about some focus on education, values and personal accountability instead of blaming these unfortunate situations on inanimate objects as if they have the capacity of killing someone without the help of a human’s hand. This is a snap shot into the psyche of so many citizens who desire a nanny state government.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. duke

    Anybody heard if Belcher's gun was purchased legally? I'm sure the guy could get a gun by any means he wanted to.

    Also, anybody know the crime statistics of cities with strict gun bans, like DC and Chicago?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • PorpoiseBuilt

      It doesn't help to have a gun ban when your neighboring states do not. It's all about context, and I find that advocates for gun ownership are simply unable to (or chose not to) see beyond isolated incidents and statistics.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • duke

      Really? That's exactly what gun ownership advocates say about those who claim guns should be banned. You use the isolated incidents of the few to try to justify eliminating the constitutional liberties of everyone.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Todd

    Costas is clearly ignorant about guns. Saying that if he didnt have a hand gun they would both be alive has got to be one of the most ignorant and unsympathetic comments I have EVER heard. Even for a Syracuse graduate.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Name*rich

    Good for U Bob ..you have the chutzpah to speak the truth..I applaud you! ..a fan in DC

    December 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jay

    You know what kind of people aren't for gun control, those who aren't getting shot at. I've lived in pretty safe neighborhoods and still heard way too many gunshots in the middle of the night.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. widow

    so if he stabbed his GF and then slit his own throat would we ban knives or any sharp object? or if he jumped off of a bridge would we ban people from walking on bridges? Seriously what people don't understand is I someone has there mind set they are going to follow through. The fact is this guy was sick.. he needed help and some people probably ignored the signs he was losing it and figured it would pass. well it didn't and 2 people are dead and families and friends are devastated. Move on.. This is a Psychological issue.. Not a gun control issue.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. noone77

    guns don't kill anyone people kill people. If banning guns worked DC nad New York would be the safest places on earth (there not SHOCKING!!) take your hippy gun hating somewhere else im a law abiding gun owning citizen and i'll never hurt anyone that doesn't try to hurt me period!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dave

      period.......

      December 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • MS OF NY

      Do you know why the gun violence in DC and NY are persistent even if it has considerably decreased? Its because nothing is stopping people from going to nearby states with weaker controls to buy their guns. Gun control cannot be a enforced just at a State level and expect to see desired results. It should be uniform across the nation to have a significant affect.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jokesterer

    There's someone on your lawn and you don't have a gun. How are you going to shoot them?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. David

    I don't own a gun and have no desire to and I could find a thousand other ways to kill someone. Instead of preaching about gun control, which is useless, how about discussing and spending more tax money on mental health issues. Anyone that kills another human has to be suffering from some kind of mental healh issue and that is something that we could actually do something about if we devoted more resources.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MS OF NY

      Yes, there are a thousand other ways to do it. But none of them is as easy as squeezing a little trigger. It does not take much strength and its impossible to outrun a speeding bullet. Also, the emotional and moral barrier to cross in using a gun is much less compared to other means. Hence, ban guns if you want to live in a civilized society or you are still living in a barbaric one from dark ages.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ccw holder

      lets ban drugs too! then we will live in a drug free utopia!

      December 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lisa

    With what we've learned up until now about the head trauma professional football players sustain, wouldnt it be prudent to be even more cautious about gun ownership?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JORGE WASHINSEN

    Finding out what put a human mind into a mood that would lead to this is first priority it would seem.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. noone77

    so costas if he strangled or beat her to death would amputating arms be required..... rich dummy?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MS OF NY

      The emotional and moral barrier to cross in using a gun is much less compared to other means. Also it is much less messy compared to other means.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    Chicago has strict gun control laws. How's that working for them? OJ Simpson did NOT have a gun. How's that working for Nicole Simpson Brown? I understand reporting about a tragedy but a pulpit sermon on national TV is ridiculous. How come states and countries with little to no gun laws have lower crime rates?

    What about the news reports when an armed citizen prevented further loss of life by an assailant?

    Gun control laws suppress the rights of RESPONSIBLE gun owners. I will not cower and scream like hyena in heat if a criminal violates my home and children. Those whose guns end up killing their kids, their wives and loved ones, or shooting themselves in the leg in a New York nightclub, these people are NOT responsible gun owners.

    I lost respect for Bob Costas, who probably lives in a gated community monitored by security guards...ARMED with GUNS. Hypocrite!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MS OF NY

      A RESPONSIBLE gun owner is one who has not YET acted irresponsibly. Jovan Belcher was a very RESPONSIBLE gun owener until he decided to find solution to his problems with his Gun!!!!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Will

    Nearly 195,000 deaths are caused yearly on the average by medical errors.

    31,000 deaths were caused by guns. Including accident, murder and suicide in 2011

    There are around 900,000 thousand doctors in the U.S.

    The number of gun owners and households with guns range between 39% and 50% of US households having at least one gun(that's about 43-55 million households). The estimates for the number of privately owned guns range from 190 million to 300 million. Removed those that skew the stats for their own purposes the best estimates are about 45% or 52 million of American households owning 260 million guns).

    You do the math

    December 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MS OF NY

      Tell your math to the families of the victims who are left listless with meangless loss of life all because people like you don't see reason. Its very unfortunate where we are at as a civilized or uncivilized society!!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D McCoy

    I applaud Bob Costas for what he said. It needed to be said and I'm glad he took the opportunity to say when he did!

    December 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thor

      You are an idiot.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      @Thor, that's constructive. How about making a point instead of just calling people names?

      Look, whether you agree with Bob Costas or not, Saturday's tragedy was the elephant in the room. How can we blithely sit and say, "Who cares?! I want my football!" and ignore the human dimension of what happened? In the wake of such a terrible event people often need to express the feelings those events bring up for them. That Bob had a microphone in front of him doesn't make his views any less – or more – valid than anyone else's. And if you think these events weren't going to effect the ongoing debate over gun control without Costas' remarks, you're mistaken.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MS OF NY

      There is no better time than that to discuss about the tragedy. Are'nt we still talking about it be it in favor or against? Moreover, any issue that chips away at the very foundation of a civilized society is not just a political issue!

      December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • AzSunDevil

      Bob is a moron just like you!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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