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. Crop1981

    Maybe what we need is football control. The football mentality is a disease that has infected our society to where we worship theses thugs who play the game over honoring people who make a real and meaningful contribution to the human species and our way of life. Belcher is an example of the problem. These people are coddled for their jockdom from the time they are boys playing in peewee league and never taught there are real responsibilities in life not just just what you can accomplish on a football field.

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

    Okay. CNN, it will not happen. Stop trying to push it, it's really obvious. Constant articles about gun control after every time someone gets shot. It's part of the constitution stop trying to advocate a new amendment that only the left-wing nuts want. People die because of will not because of guns. Next thing you know knife control will be the front page of every article!


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

    The 2nd Amendment to our Constitution clearly states the citizenry has the right to "keep and bear" arms. While I am inclined to believe the forefather's 2nd Amendment intent was to keep the government in check. How could they ever see how militarized the government and the citizenry could become?

    A pro-gun control comment would suggest the murder and suicide would never have happened, or, would far-less likely would have happened, if Jovan Belcher did not have a gun.

    An anti-gun control comment would suggest the murder and suicide was committed by Jovan Belcher, not Smith & Wesson.

    Both comments are true, I guess. But, while we engage is the verbal back and forth about this and that more people are being killed by people with guns. I can't help but think the gun as the murder weapon is the symptom, not the problem. Somehow, I think, one person killing another is an extreme example of mental illness. Maybe that should be our topic?

    December 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wheels

    if tommorow there was a ban on all handguns the country would be a better place...I guess we still need rifles and shotguns though to go hunt our wild game and mindlessly shoot targets.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Annoyed Elephant

    Liberals can't help using tragic situations to push their political agenda. That's what happens when your idiotic, hateful, bitter politics of vengeance are more important than the fact that a terrible tragedy has taken the lives of people who didn't need to die.

    Shame on you, Bob Costas. And shame on your employers for keeping you employed.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      With all due respect, this is not about liberals vs. conservatives. This is about insane idi0ts who hate guns using anything to promote their anti-gun agenda.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Annoyed Elephant

      And typically, it's not conservatives who are pushing an anti-gun agenda.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ModerateMan

      Wow, you are certainly an example of the tea party fanatics that think that anyone who has any opinion different than theirs is not worthy of even living. You can't discuss the issue of gun control without using words like "idiotic, hateful, bitter" to describe those who disagree with you? You don't think Costas has the right to a job because he disagrees with you? What country did you grow up in, surely not the United States. When did you lose your civility? Or were you never taught it?

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

      But you right wing nuts think is perfectly all right for people to suffer from lack of healthcare or freeze to death because they can't afford heat. You have got as much blood on your hands as any one. You people just choose to let people die slow. Why not have open season on the poor? You people want be happy until every poor person is dead. Then what!!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Annoyed Elephant

      And you won't be happy until every poor person is under the jackboot of a communist and their freedom is surrendered so that you can feel better about yourself.

      BTW: wanting people to keep money that is rightfully theirs isn't greed. Demanding that those people give their money to you, is.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Annoyed Donkey

      Shame on you for even commenting. 1st amendment, get with it.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Annoyed Elephant

      Shame on you for commenting. 2nd Amendment, get with it.

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

      The Annoyed Donkey that's typical of your type scream first amendment when it suits your cause but in the same breath want to do away with the 2nd and any others that don't suite your agenda. Shame on you for even commenting! all or nothing don't pick and choose. You probably do the same with the bible, pick and choose which verse of the bible you live by.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      The second amendment is outdated and is supported by boys who continue to want to play cowboys and Indians.

      December 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Annoyed Elephant

      If you think this is true, then have your Congressman put in a bill to eliminate the amendment.

      Meanwhile, I'll alert the criminals in your neighborhood as to your home's gun-free status.

      December 4, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark in TX

    I've been in countries where there is supposed to be 'Gun Control'... the only ones with guns are the Criminals, and it the amount of violent death is not perturbed as much as the media leads on. Instead of being shot, you have stabbings and gruesome beatings.

    Murder is murder, whether by gun or other object. To blame ONE and think that will solve the woes of murder, you are ignorantly mistaken. They would find another way and another.

    To outlaw guns, just means only outlaws will have them and then the innocent people won't be able to protect themselves.

    I won't go into politics of other reasons for having guns. So what if Belcher had used a car, outlaw cars?

    December 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Abe

      Well Mark, Javon had a car; he used that car to transit to the Chiefs practice facilityafter killing her girlfriend, instead of killing others. What is the prupose of guns? Other than to kill or hurt someone? Please use brain while arguing

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

      Abe, looks who wants who to use a brain. I've had guns all my life and it funny I've never shot anyone, same as millions of other people.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken Margo

      @Brian..........................We've had shootings in movie theaters, malls, schools etc.. How would YOU solve the problem? A gun owner would be the perfect person to offer some perspective.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Norman

    Although Mr. Costas's intentions were good, his reasoning makes me think he played football without a helmet once too often...

    December 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Conor Hartnett

    He's right. It's just too easy to pull the trigger. I'm sure he didn't want to die that day, but realizing the reality of what he did, spur of the moment, he felt he had no choice, but to kill himself. And that too was a lot easier to do because he had a gun.
    Wake up America. Having a gun increases YOUR chances of dying, and YOUR FAMILY'S chances of dying by a gun GREATLY !

    December 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marvis

      Living increases your chances of dying...

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

      Exactly we need to get rid of cars too so people stop dying from car accidents!

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

      I have a lot of guns. My father had a lot of guns. His father had a lot of guns. His father had guns. No one in my family has ever died from a gunshot wound. Now if we could only ban heart attacks.

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

      Having a car increases your chances of getting in a fatal car accident. WAKE UP America!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Old Shoe

    "The RIGHT to bear arms shall not be infringed" Also, we have good gun laws on the books and the Supreme Court in the last few years reaffirmed our right to bear arms, so more gun control will go NOWHERE. That said, Jovan misused a firearm. Blame Jovan,for his lack of self control who couldn't control his temper, and pulled the trigger. If Jovan had used a hammer, would we be discussing hammer control? if Jovan had used a baseball bat would we be discussing registering baseball bats? If Jovan had used a knife, would we be banning knives and eat with sporks? In Britain, guns are banned, so, they kill each other with knives instead. Even in prisons where they put murderers, they find ways to kill each other. What Jovan did is put on display the ugly side of human nature and there is nothing that will ever prevent humans from behaving badly.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris72

    Bob Costas is right on, well done! Unfortunately guns have become a religion-like issue in this country, and so again we have another self-righteous indignant outcry about a perfectly sensible and truthful statement. It's become a tragically ridiculous issue, but then this has become true for most issues that have been moving America in the more recent past, and certainly in the present - be it political, social or religious. The highly educated and learned Founding Fathers would be ashamed of today's one dimensional and infantile approach to their reasoning for the 2nd amendment. What they repeatedly did, was looking to other countries to draw inspiration on how they solved their social, financial, political challenges, adapted them and improved them, suitable to their contemporary situation. But nowadays this common sense approach is generally contemptuously defamed as "un-American", which is probably the most truly un-american term in itself anyway. It would be nice if more people would open a history book once in a while, in order to learn and understand about the vision the founders had for this country.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • pjusa

      They would be much more ashamed of the fact that we can now legally kill unborn children, with or with out guns.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      So you think you know what our fore fathers had planned for this country? The history book tells us that the right to bear arms was one of those visions (Hint.......they wrote it in the constitution)

      December 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank Steely

    It's not a question of "if he had a gun." The question is "if he wanted her dead." He could have killed her with a hand full of Cracker Jacks if he wanted to. Just saying...

    December 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. FactFeed

    My respects to you Bob Costas – courageous and honest in every respect. 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. The sports-jock mentality that denigrates Costa's remarks proves that it lies at the 40 IQ range of human consciousness.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kevin

    There's no place for politics during an NFL halftime show. The reporter made a fool out of himself and btw "gun control" doesn't work. Just look at our major cities where gun control is strictest

    December 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. eric swanson

    Bob Coatas was absolutely correct in choosing that timely topic and stating that opinion. Among modern industrial nations the US rate of homicides, especially via the use of guns, is among the highest, if not the highest, in the world, both from the standpoints of a per-capita basis as well as sheer total number basis. There is no doubt that citizens constitutionally have the right to "bear arms", but the regulation of the sale, types, background checks, and appropriate punishments for convicted violators of said regulations are, currently, far too lax in my opinion.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jberman

    Right on Mr. Costas! You have as much right to speak about gun control as anyone. Kudos for having the balls to speaki out for gun control.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Willie

      Why should it be registered? I'm liberal, have a 45 semi automatic and see no reason to register it. I also see no laws that would have required registration of the gun in question.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
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