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. jarrettslavin

    You gun-loving people are terrifying. Why do you so adamently obsess about the "right" to carry a gun? How in the world is it a good thing for people to have guns? No human should have the power to kill some one with the slip of a finger- you must really not place to high a value on human life to think of guns in such a positive light.

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

      No human should have the right to drive a car-(more deaths by vehicle than guns in us history)....

      December 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dogbreath

      As a gun carrying citizen, I do indeed place a high value on human life, especially my own. Since I live in an area saturated with criminals who can kill me with a a"slip of the finger", You'll forgive me (and others) who feel it's important to be prepared to defend our lives. It's not gun worship, it's common sense.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Agreed. The arguments pro-gun people put out are all 3rd-grade reasoning. "More people die in car crashes each year so let's ban cars". "If guns don't keep you safe why do police have them?" "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

      Seriously? That's the best you can come up with? It's mind boggling, and yes, frightening. Some of you have no hope.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It's not a question of the value I place on the lives of others... it's a question of the value of my life in the eyes of others. If I don't own a gun (and I don't, but several members of my family do), that does not prevent someone else from owning a gun... someone else who views me (and my wife and children) as an obstacle between him and the meager riches he might find in my wallet or in my house. An obstacle that he has the ability to remove with the pull of a trigger or the stab of a knife. Through this lens, a gun becomes a means of protecting yourself and your family from those who would so indifferently do them harm. And no gun control law is going to prevent people of that indifferent mindset from owning guns... gun control laws only apply to those who wish to obey the law, and who are not so desperate as to embrace any available means to better their situation.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • realitysuxs

      Yeah and OJ's Finger slipped on the handle of the blade!

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

      Well let's look at the opposite arguments...

      1. How many gun owners, as a percentage, do you suppose actually have ever killed (or even injured) another person with a weapon? Even if you include government issued weapons like service weapons (for police officers) or combat rifles (for military), you're still talking about a small percentage... less than 10%... who have ever had to use their gun against another human being.

      2. I think painting anyone with a concealed carry permit as a "crazed gun nut" who is a) so unstable that they would flip out and kill people with a "slip of a finger", and b) someone who is on medication for said apparent instability, definitely counts as a "3rd grade argument".

      3. There are still other valid arguments, such as "What do you expect the police department's response time to a violent incident is, and do you expect to actually live long enough to find out?" Or how about, "What gun control laws do you expect to pass that will keep people from illegally obtaining guns and using them against you?" And then, of course, there's "If guns are so dangerous, why does Switzerland (one of the most well-armed nations in the world) have such a low violent crime rate?"

      December 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keith

    Years ago, a stalker literally chased my sister home and ran up the driveway, intent on following her inside our home. He was deterred by the appearance of my father at the door, handgun drawn. The man was arrested shortly thereafter, and implicated in a series of abductions and rapes. He committed suicide in jail. I'm thankful my father had a gun that day. I have a handgun, and hope I never have to use it. My children were taught about the danger and responsibilities of gun ownership (as I was), and they're both responsible adults now.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PlanetThoughts

    Thank you Bob Costas for showing you are a real human being.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aaron

    If he had made a comment about the lives lost each year due to abortion the pro-choice crowd would be going NUTS (and rightfully so). Not the time nor forum for his personal agenda. Extremely tacky and poor form on his part.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      The answer would be zero since a blob of flesh is not a baby.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mordrud

    Hey Bob, way to capitalize on a horrific and tragic event for your own political agenda. Maybe you could go to Jovan's funeral and give that speech? I'm sure it would make his family and friends so happy. tool.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leo818

    It's always easier to blame the object than the person who misuses it. Immediately after the incident there were people making public statements about how wonderful a person this guy was. Clearly, he was a nice guy possessed by a demon in the firearm or this would not have happened. Get real.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jvn

    well said. i wonder, if every senseless act with a gun was publicised, would we be further along in this 'no brainer argument?' heres to the days when we value our lives more than we value our guns.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Guns are not the issue. Mental health is the issue.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Yeah, if he didn't have a gun then he wouldn't have killed anyone, yeah right, lol. Murders have been taking place since the beginning of time. People will act like scumbags no matter what. If he didn't have a gun the murder would have been committed with a bat, knife, sword, etc......I would rather be killed with a gun personally. He drove to his practice facility, so he could make people watch him kill himself. You are blaming the gun instead of the dangerous psycho.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jim


    Let him run for office if he wants to play politics.

    Oh wait, he feels entitled doesn't he.

    Fire him. Then he'll understand the state of the economy as well.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sobe

    Shut up Costas! Domestic violence or not, that football player didnt need a gun to kill! he could have done with his own hands if he wanted !! Now dont twist everything around and blame it on the guns!! Im glad i live in Texas where guns are legal to have and morons like you have no say in it! Guns are necesary to defend oneself!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Beligio

    Sure, he could've smacked her with a bat a few dozen times. But it's probably somewhat difficult to beat yourself to death with a bat. Therefore he used a gun. What a big man, murdering his gf, leaving their baby an orphan and then taking the easy way out. Too bad more gun owners don't do the same thing, then they wouldn't be on the streets terrorizing anyone who happens to cross their path when they are feeling touchy or off their meds.

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

      There are far less expensive ways to kill yourself than a gun. Bridges have been doing it for centuries... and there's always seppuku.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bigfoot

    Guns don't kill pepole. The lack of gun control kills people.

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

      The lack of gun control causes vehicular manslaughter? Really?

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

    Instead of gun control, how about self control.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. 1gadawg

    Sad part is that Costas is so full of himself that he actually thinks that someone cares what this two bit sports announcer has to say....

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

      And you post on a public forum because?.......

      December 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russell's Teapot

      Obviously you cared enough to comment

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

      Sadder still that you think no one cares about gun control.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
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