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. Missing the Point Bob

    It's not about guns. it's about mental health. I wonder why Costas didn't rant about archery (bow/arrow) and knives......that kid in Wyoming used those devices to murder.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LVSam

    We as a society know more about who owns a car than a gun. That's odd.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laura

    It's time for Bob Costa to actually do some investigative reporting instead of editorializing about an extreme tradegy. Gun control is a political issue, with professional athletes, performance enhancement drugs is the bigger issue. Steriod use in the NFL has become apart of the sports culture. Side effects such as "Roid Rage", depression and suicidal tendencies have a further impact on these athletes than the public is made aware of. Come on Bob, get to the real issue here.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Interesting

    As a Democrat and not a liberal, I think this was not the place whatsoever. When a child gets in a gun cabinet and shoots their friend by accident, or a school shooting where minors get access to their father's guns, now those are times to talk about this. Those are serious arguments against them. There are real world incidents with kids that make me want to vomit just reading them, where some gun crazy father has them all over the place in the home. Sorry Bob, not the place, or the time. Maybe someone should consider roid rage and some other possible issues in this case?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bored already

    Bob Costas is an NBC meat puppet. Like I'm going to listen to him on the pros/cons of gun control. Hey Bob, I watched a documentary about the craziness of guns in America- over 10 years ago- it was called Bowling for Columbine. Way to show up to the party late. The Chiefs are having to deal with a tragedy here- this guy could have had some serious brain trauma from concussions for all we know. Very similar to Chris Benoit of the WWE. Leave your soap box rant out of this, or run for office.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ugh

    "If guns were illegal, Lincoln would still be alive today. Fact." – Bob Shmostas

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dogbreath

    Typical. Blame everyone but the shooter. Tens of millions of other gun owners DIDN'T shoot their girfiriend and then commit suicide a few days ago.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • i agree

      millions of drug users, just like gun owners, are scapegoated for the problems of a few. drugs dont kill people, people kill themselves.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jablo

      Easy and convenient access to a firearm escalates many of these incidents to fatalities. Live in a gun culture, the tax is that there are more gun deaths.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      why not ban all cars and trucks and axes ,chain saws ,knives, baseball bats ,sticks , hammers ,screwdrivers, and any other thing you can be killed with the man killed his self get over it you can't protect the world that is way we have no rights now morons like him running there mouth fire the big mouth

      December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tucker

      Nicely placed comment sir. Lets not allow these people confuse the masses here... Dear Bob: "Self Control"
      should be the topic here not gun control. Please keep in mind that in the year 2001 over 2000 people were murdered here in the US by "Boxcutter knives" !! strange that knowone has called for boxcutter control. or is it?

      December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • i agree

      just like the millions of gun owners skapegoated for the problems of a few, millions of drug users are scapegoated for the problems of a few. why isnt crack, heroine and PCP legal? First of all, drugs dont kill people, people kill themselves. Secondly, what if these drug users turned to alcohol? alcohol is a toxin with a potential to cause overdose. Thirdly in the constitution provides for life, liberty, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, whose to say happiness isnt found at the end of a needle? Fourthly these are the same arguing points, re-worded to fit a recreational drug user point of view, are they not as valid or ridiculous as the same ones the NRA tries to use?

      December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bored already

    Costas lecturing about gun control is about as useful as Michael Irvin doing a "Just Say No to Drugs" commercial.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike H

    It takes a lot of courage to defy the NRA and gun enthusiasts by pointing out the human cost of the second amendment. Thank you Mr. Costas and NBC. I wish more prominent people would speak out and advocate restrictions on guns. Less guns equal less deaths.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • RIch Smith

      Please do not breed or vote. Ban guns then knife killings on a rise, ban knives then death by hammers on the rise etc etc.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • oregonreign

      really? Statistics say otherwise. More guns than ever and crime rate going down.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pocono Shooting Range

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is to arm people in order to prevent future tyranny. They need the tools to do this.

    The term "Well Regulated" in the Second Amendment meant "Well Manned and Equipped " in 1791 as was determined in the 1939 United States v. Miller case after referencing the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The concept of Government Regulation, as we understand it today, did not exist at the time.

    United States v. Miller also determined that the term "Arms" refers to "Ordinary Military Weapons". American Citizens have the right to Keep and Bear, which means Own and Carry, any weapons that a soldier carries into battle. That includes past, present and future weapons. A Militia consisted of armed volunteers willing to fight with their personal arms and not under government control.

    The American people still have a lot of work to do with regard to taking back their rights.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • so i am allowed to own a SAM?

      soldier carries one into battle and i have a gripe with cargo planes flying over my house everyday. after all we should be able to carry the weapons the military has.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • dan

      amen brother i couldn't have said it any better

      December 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CNeder

    Bob is a flipping moron. OJ Simpson murdered two people with a knife. It's not the gun's fault. Belcher is a flipping animal to shoot an unarmed woman 9 times. If he had a knife she would have had at least 9 stab wounds.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Do you REALLY want to put the stabbing statistics up against the handgun statistics? Think hard now. Others are saying 'he didn't need a gun to kill his girlfriend, he was a linebacker', which I assume is suggesting he could have simply strangled his girlfriend and then himself with his bare hands instead; you know, if he wanted to he could have totally done it. It's so easy but I guess he was in a hurry and went with the gun instead. (sarcasm)

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

    Gun control does not and cannot take the place of "self control". Vilifying gun owners and gun ownership will not stop people from harming each other. Killing or harming someone does not require a gun, it only requires the desire to kill. Anger and stupidity are the culprits here. No one would be yelling for gun control if his girlfriend was able to use her own gun to save her life from a vicious attack by her boyfriend. The gun would have been viewed as a "life saving instrument". I would like to see Bob Costas fend off a crew of burglars or killers with just a "rant about gun control".

    December 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • are really gonna argue

      the potential deadly consequences of a knife vs. a gun. i can run from a man with a knife, and so long as he isnt skilled at knife throwing, i should get away. however a man atop a tower with a scoped rifle cant be seen or ran from. well you can run, but you might die tired.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Timmy

    What if he did it with a knife? What then? Knife control? Hard to cook without a knife.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • but he didn't

      wanna know why? because a gun has a greater potential to cause bodily harm. something that seems to escape gun enthusiasts when they make this argument point. it's really a terrible position from which to argue, because in the end there are much stronger arguments that can defeat the knife vs. gun routine.

      December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shawn

    Because Belcher would have been unable to stab, strangle, or otherwise murder his wife, correct? Totally absurd. I wasn't aware that murder didn't exist until guns were invented. I learn something new every day.

    December 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dogbreath

    You wish our family members would die to teach us some kind of lesson? And you call gun owners crazy?

    December 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
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