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:

[tweet https://twitter.com/JohnKincade/status/275435630157262848%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/JohnKincade/status/275435941114572802%5D

Costas declined to comment on his remarks.

[tweet https://twitter.com/rkahne/status/275434984544825345%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/BillJCHien/status/275485483587497984%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/audsnyder4/status/275435226983981056%5D

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. Chris

    Suicide rates are no higher in places that guns are accessible than places where they are not. Costa's uninformed words were a knee jerk reaction to a very tragic situation. Maybe we should talk about the violent sport of football which seems to turn out so many criminals and thugs rather than talking about how one of Costa's criminal thugs used an inanimate object to do help him kill an innocent woman..

    December 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KC

    It is a sad day indeed when someone like Bob Costas would think that individuals really care about his opinion on social / constitutional issues. Most people I visit with don't really care about his opinion even on sports.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stephen

    It would have been alright if Bob Costas had also read a remark that opposes what Mr. Whitlock(sorry I butchered his name) had said this way it would actually seem a little more fair but that is one of the reasons why I don't watch NBC News or Fox Newschannel because both networks are biased to one side or the other.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RINO BIL

    Costas should be suspended and the producer fired. The network should not take this lying down, unless they planned this all along.

    Costas was supposed to perform his duties, not express his political opinions. He was very unprofessional.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Robert Thompson

    I have a lot of respect for Bob Costas, but disagree with him whole-heartedly on this. The damage that gun control does far outweighs that harm done by the few people who misuse firearms, despite that shocking & tragic events that attract so much attention.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. john

    How'd the 2nd half go? I quit watching in the middle of the liberal propaganda tirade. If this is how NBC thinks they're going to improve their ratings, they must not be counting on gun owners and football fans.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TSW10

    I disagree with what he said, but I agree with the right to freedom of speech and free press. I just no longer like the guy.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mbkrouse

    I think toupees should be banned. That way a middle aged marginally talented bald guy cannot would be seen as he really is.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ASClark

    Ronnie Harper made the statement "Nobody has the 'right' to own a handgun..." The Supreme Court of the United States has settled that legal question in its decision "Heller vs. Washington D.C." The court affirmed that the 2nd ammendmant guarantees an individual (not collective) right to own firearms. The court stated that right is not limited to long guns but includes handguns. The court went further in the Chicago case by affirming that the individual right to own a firearm is protected by the fourteenth ammendment thus prohibiitng states and municipalites from abridging that right.

    Mr. Harper goes on to state that "it won't be long until guns are banned entirely in the USA." That would take an ammendment to the Constitution of the United States which, in my opinion, would be extremely difficult to bring about because there are a sufficient number of people in the United States to oppose it through the constitutional political process. Perhaps Mr. Harper envisions an extra-constitutional action to deprive us of our constitutionally protected civil rights. If we can take away the 2nd ammendment outside of the established process for ammending the constitution, then we establilsh the legal precedent to taking away the remainder of the Bill of Rights. God protect us all from zealots like Mr. Harper.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pete

    lisa s n.j., His point exactly as to the absurdity of Costas' comments.

    What a lou Costas is. He should be fired for forcing his non-football related views upon the listeners.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sy2502

    Rich and famous people get any gun they want. Look at Sean Penn, he's the biggest anti gun advocate AND he has a carry concealed permit. If he had his own laws passed, he'd still have a gun, because he can.
    Ok let's look at it another way: steroids are illegal, but anyone who hasn't his head firmly lodged in his back side knows NFL players take plenty of them. So once again, making a law against something solves the problem?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill pike

    what if he had said "she had an abortion years ago and that is why we have to stop abortion"???? what do you think the reaction would be??? I love sports–love football--lets be able to turn on a game without the crap we experienced in politics this year.

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

      Why not? FOX does it all the time

      December 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ken Margo

    Lets face facts. Guns are no longer needed. Not even for hunting. How much courage does it take to shoot an animal from a long distance with a weapon so powerful? If we got rid of guns we could eliminate alot of the violence in this and other countries.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • duke

      Hunting was not necessarily what the writers of the Bill of Rights had in mind with the 2nd amendment. Providing a way for citizens to protect their life, liberty and property was what they had in mind. You don't like it, change the Constitution.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • duke

      Hunting wasn't necessarily what the Bill of Rights was designed to protect. Permitting citizens to protect their life, liberty and property was. If you don't like the 2nd Amendment then change the Constitution.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jacob

      Hey Ken" remember Katrina? All the lawlessness? Cops were too busy to protect everyone.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nathan

      You are wrong. It won't. GUNS DONT CAUSE VIOLENCE, PEOPLE DO. Heard of molotov cocktails? Fists? Knifes? Machetes? Cars? There are millions, LITERALLY MILLIONS of ways to kill someone, a gun just makes it quicker. I'd rather get shot in the head then stabbed a hundred times by some dude in an alley. Take away guns, people will just get creative. Hell we might learn a new way to kill someone!

      The murder, the violence, has nothing to do with guns. It has all to do with society. Ignorance man. Stop fighting our protection against all those other ways of murder. Guns rights aren't a necessity but neither is taking them away. Crime will just get more violent and horrid. I heard bombs are trending in the Middle East.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      I live in NYC. NY has tough gun control laws and NY is considered the safest large city in america. There is good and bad. The simple solution is to GET RID OF GUNS PERIOD. They serve no purpose.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jzaks

      Not sure which planet you are living on, but it is not the same world I deal with everyday.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • FrankJ

      Why dont you look at the facts. Its been proven time and time again, the higher the incidence of civilian gun ownership, the lower the violent crime rate. Do you know where the absolute lowest violent crime rate in the world is? Switzerland, where every male citizen is required by law to possess an assault rifle. As gun ownership in the US has swelled in recent years, there has been a decrease in the murder rate, except in Chicago where they have the most stringent gun control in the nation. FACTS!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Those are only 'the facts' in your deluded opinion. Guns are very much necessary for personal defense and hunting in the world today, regardless of what your insane mind thinks.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      Thousands die annually because of cancer and we raise millions of dollars in a effort to cure this disease and save lives. All we need to do is pass legislation to cure gun violence and to save lives.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      jzaks – Seriously, what world do you live in where guns are necessary? Middle East? We're supposed to be one of the best countries in the world and we still have people running around with hand guns like it's a war zone!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Totally agree. Same with the first amendment. There is so much racism and hate in today's society. If we got rid of free speech we wouldn't have to worry about it.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Frankj.........................."Why dont you look at the facts. Its been proven time and time again, the higher the incidence of civilian gun ownership, the lower the violent crime rate."

      Did civilian gun ownership help this poor woman shot by this football player?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Ken, if you get rid of guns, people will just use rocks, axes, knives, bombs, etc. to kill people who they dislike. Start living in the real world where the B E S T way to prevent violence is to teach children VERY young that there is no reason (save if someone is trying to kill them at that very moment and it is their last choice to stop that attack) to kill another person.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • azbycx

      Actually, if she had a personal defense firearm, she may have lived.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Christopher.......................Police officers have been shot and killed and we know they have guns! Military personnel have been shot and killed, we know they have guns. Having a gun will not guarantee safety.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Via Blanca

      Bob offended millions of law-abiding, gun owning football fans....stick to sports, most people could give a rats behind about anything else you have to say

      December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • pjusa

      Let's see, before there were guns there were no violent acts of aggression, no murders, no serial killers, no suicides, no wars. Gee, I guess gun control is the answer.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Ken, guns would have helped this woman if she had been armed. When she saw this man coming towards her, she could have SHOT FIRST and she wouldn't have died.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henk

      Of course guns are still needed, especially for hunting. You should read America gone wild. http://www.brooklyncentrenaturalists.net/2012/11/america-gone-wild-nature-wars-wsjcom.html

      December 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @AZBYCX......................So you're saying if she had a gun she could have lived. That doesn't sound like a guarantee to me. Even if she had a gun and killed him, you'll still be dealing with violence. Is that the way we want things?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      I'm not a hunter myself but this silly argument always kills me. Humans have hunted using our tools for thousands of years. Animals have adaptations such as claws, sharp teeth, and often greater strength. Humans on the other hand, have none of those advantages. As a result, we adapted and used our one advantage, our brains, to create tools that would help us. Telling a human not to use their guns or other weapons against an animal would be like saying its unfair for a bear to use his massive claws.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vijay

      We need Gun Control. Actually whenever I see a flash board that there were firearms show in Houston, I feel how many lives it is going to take. I feel pity for both of them. People say where Guns are legal, there were low gun related crimes. When you take CO incident (COLORADO is a guns free state like TX), What happened in columbine and Aurora theater incident. Also in Ohio, VA massive killings of the innocent lives were lost. US is the Gun Capital of the World. Recently what happened in Florida, for keeping high volume, an innocent life was lost at that day. It is not about the player it is about the GUNS. Everyone will say about second amendment which was written long time back. we need to change it to suite today's culture. Also every one will say that Chicago has higher crime rate. Where they get guns, they will either drive to Indiana nor MO nor Iowa to get guns and come to Chicago to kill people. This is happening in New York, all the fire arms were brought into New York from Florida, and other state where there are no guns laws. If we put strict restrictions then we would save many lives.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      If you knew half of what your talking about it would be scarry. How about he was just a loon and would of found a different way to kill her and himself. What if he used a car? should we get rid of all the cars? you don't need a car take a cab, ride a bike or walk.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Frank J:
      You are a little off in what you are saying. The majority of men in Switzerland are conscripted (read: drafted) into the national militia where they are ISSUED weapons and undergo firearms training. A person with training is going to treat a weapon with more respect.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @nate..................We are supposed to be a civilized society! We don't need to hunt to eat. When you look at the VIOLENCE and the way to stop the VIOLENCE. The common denominator is a gun. Why is a gun more important that peoples lives?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Brian..................You cannot get rid of violence. But you can cut down on the violence. I bet if someone YOU LOVED was a victim of gun violence you would change your tune.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Ken, just because YOU dislike hunting does not mean that you get to bash upon people who hunt. It's the old "It causes no harm to you, so GTFO!" as I say.

      There is also the very real chance that if a plague or other pandemic happens in our society, people will need to hunt.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Ken, I had a friend of mine shot in a robbery at a Wawa's 10 years ago. No, it wouldn't make most of us change our minds because we have the ability to REASON and reason that the problem is not the inanimate object, it is the PERSON who uses the inanimate object to kill another person.

      Just like you wouldn't blame a KNIFE for someone getting stabbed to death or call for banning knives unless you were a NITWIT!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Jonathan
      Frank J:
      You are a little off in what you are saying. The majority of men in Switzerland are conscripted (read: drafted) into the national militia where they are ISSUED weapons and undergo firearms training. A person with training is going to treat a weapon with more respect.
      _____________________

      So, a person trained to use a knife is going to treat it with more respect? Give me a break, respect has nothing to do with this, everyone who is SANE knows that a gun is a deadly weapon and dangerous.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @christopher....................I don't hate hunting. You can hunt all you want. Use a bow and arrow to give the animal a chance. Show some skill. Someone wrote earlier we've been hunting for thousands of years. We didn't have a gun ALL the time.

      You put guns ahead of people. If that doesn't sound a little off, I don't know what does.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      IF she had gun of her own, do you really think he would have pulled his? Furthermore, she would have been able to protect herself. That's whole point of the posts above. People pull guns because they have keen insight that those they are drawing on can't shoot back. Your premise is about taking guns away from law abiding citizens. Reality is that it's more about letting criminals know that if you come knocking on my door with a weapon, you can bet one will be on the other side of that door, as well

      December 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Regarding Switzerland comment:
      I am from Switzerland, and your comment is wrong. It used to be that every Swiss soldier took his rifle home, when becoming a reservist. This goes back to WWII and the Cold War, when an attack from the East could come every day ("every man a service man"). This isnt so anymore. The reason? Too many deaths because of people snapping and using their service rifle to shoot their families, themselves, or others. Your argument is false. As is the other argument of the gun freaks, that Switzerland has more or equally liberal gun laws as the US. It is very regulated, along with extensive background checks, federal registration of every gun owner and kind/number of guns purchased.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Yes, get rid of guns so the only people that have them are the criminals. Makes sense to me.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      Ken Margo
      @christopher....................I don't hate hunting. You can hunt all you want. Use a bow and arrow to give the animal a chance. Show some skill. Someone wrote earlier we've been hunting for thousands of years. We didn't have a gun ALL the time.
      ______________________

      Show some skill? I hate to tell you, but even with a gun it takes a LOT of skill to creep up into 'sure kill' range even for a gun, which is only about 100 yards.

      The truth here is that you dislike guns, period and done with. This is NOT about skill, this is NOT about fairness to the animals, you have just been brainwashed into believing that society would be 'better off' without guns. It's simply not true and never will be true.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • LR

      Ken, let's talk on the assumption that your comment is correct. Then, please do tell us, how do we get rid of guns? Do we just pass a law banning gun ownership and then sit quietly and wait for every criminal and nutjob to politely walk up and turn in their guns? And what about the military and police? If the U.S. military and police forces are not armed, but other countries are, where does that leave us? Okay, then, let's say that we allow military and police to keep guns.... do you really want to live in a society where the only people armed are government? (because that is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned). I think it's great to have a serious and adult conversation about this issue (although, I really don't appreciate the when and where of Bob Costa's rant). But the one question that is still out there that no one seem to want to address is - how do we get rid of the guns?? Would love to hear your ideas on this.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      Let me make one point clear. I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO HAVE A GUN. Having a gun doesn't make you safe. If that was true police officers wouldn't get shot. Can people kill in other ways, of course. We cant ban everything. Guns are used in violence more than knives or anything else that is available.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Ken – you act like that if guns were banned that they would totally disappear. If you banned guns the only people that would have them would be police officers and people who obtain them illegally, otherwise known as criminals.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @christopher......................... Would those kids at Columbine have been safer without guns? Would those people shot at Virgina Tech have been safer without guns? Would those people shot at the movie theater have been safer without guns? I could go on but you don't care about people.

      You are right about one thing. Guns wont go away. There's tooo much money in guns. Just like there is tooo much money in drugs is the reason we cant get rid of drugs.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @christopher.................Would those shot at Columbine been safer without guns? What about the movie theater shootings? What about the school shootings? What about the mall shootings? I could go on but you don't care about people.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      I'm not crazy. You have to start some where. Banning guns is only the start. We wont get rid of guns because there is too much money in guns. We can't get rid of drugs because there is too much money in drugs. So unfortunately were stuck with both.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Ryan........................I'm not crazy. You have to start some where. Banning guns is only the start. We wont get rid of guns because there is too much money in guns. So were stuck.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      @ ken...banning guns is not the answer. Why not make own a gun mandatory instead. Then these people will think twice about pulling this crap when they know the other person can fire back.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Ryan...............Police officers can fire back, how come they get shot? Please keep in mind. Suppose you shoot back and hit an innocent bystander? Is that a freebie? Suppose you shoot a couple people? is that ok? People act as if the person shooting back will guarantee a hit on the bad guy. We don't need the ok corral out there.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reflecting Pool

    Bravo to you Bob Costas – courageous and honest in every respect.

    The fanatic NRA extremists who insist on the right to own AK47's and armor-penetrating bullets that only Drug Cartels and murderers would ever need – MUST be challenged and defeated in their attempts to return this country to the old Wild-West bang-bang shoot-em-up cowboy days of yesteryear.

    We need ramped-up gun control regulations and we need them ASAP.

    The right to own guns, like every other constitutional right, has limits and does not trump society's RIGHT to be safe and secure NOT just in their homes, but in PUBLIC PLACES like schools and football stadiums.

    Give Bob Costas a medal and a round of applause. It demonstrates conclusively that he is a principled human being with intelligence, guts, honesty, insight and great Compassion - Qualities utterly lacking at the NRA.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leftwinger7

    The NRA (The National Republican Association) will be all over this!

    December 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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