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. Mho

    Well if you look at any country that ban guns murder rates are way lower than those who don't.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Roger Smith

    Gun control isn't the issue. The issue is that a nutjob murdered his woman and orphaned his kid and could have just as easily done it with a knife or a baseball bat. You can't stop nuts from killing. You can't stop criminals from getting guns, anymore than you can stop them from getting drugs which are already illegal. There is no reason to take rights away from honest citizens because a creep committed murder.

    I have heard nothing but excuses for this low-life....it was the NFL's fault....the girls fault.....the guns fault.....anything but to blame a sacred sports hero....makes me ill.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Daily Llama

    Perfect example of gun control!!!!!!

    Jovan Belcher BOUGHT the pistol he used to murder his girlfriend – and cowardly end his own life – LEGALLY!!!!

    He – and HE ALONE! – chose to use it ILLEGALLY!!!!!

    So why should every other law-abiding citizen – how many total citizen-owner gun ownership years can we possibly accumulate?!?!?! – "pay" for the senseless and heinous crimes committed by those who AREN'T responsible and law-abiding?!?!?!?

    December 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MattAhern

    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 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nunsuch

    When I travel to Europe and Asia, I feel safe to walk the streets at any time on any day. Why? No guns. In America I don't feel safe in a mall, on a street, or in a movie theater. There are more unintentional deaths and bodily harm via guns than from the "purpose of guns" in hunting or self-protection. We spend millions in taxpayer dollars for metal protectors and security guards in our schools, even elementary schools. Have we totally gone nuts? Costas may lose his job over this, but it is a conversation we have to begin, sometime, somewhere. Other countries have had it a long time ago.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MattAhern

    Sports-jocks and NRA`fanatic extremists seem to have a lot in common - LOW IQ's.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    This was not about gun violence at all. This was about a coward that stabbed a defenseless woman to death and then took the easy way out by killing himself. What kind of coward hits, stabs,beats, women ??? Big tough guy. At least he will not be burdening the legal system and have to fed and housed for the next 60 years. I feel for the woman and her family, they are the victims not him. The talk should be about domestic violence not guns. As I see it the gun he used did us all a favor. I spit on that coward !!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JFNC

    I completely disagree with Costas but if we're going to fire him for talking about gun control on a football program we should fire Rush for talking about football on his political program. I'm "OK" with both.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kamlesh

    Bullet leaving barrel of a gun do not discriminate. It simply kills people. That is the reason it is manufactured. Plain and simple. We as a citizen needs to be responsible and eliminate guns from the streets.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jay

    I am surprise bob did no go on to say we should ban bow and arrows and knife because the one guy killed is father girl friend and his father before he offed himself.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dcshipman

    Bob Costas "free speech" was paid for by high dollar sponsors.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TxMongoose

    Costas is a utter and complete moron. "If OJ Simpson did not have a handgun, Nicole and Ron would still be alive today." – Bob Costas
    Wh is Costas a utter and complete moron? Easy. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were STABBED to death! Nothing related to guns at all.

    And yet all the people making comments are't even mentioning this????

    December 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anomic Office Drone

      No one is commenting on that because Bob Costas didn't say it. That Twitter user attributed that fake quote to him in order to (in his mind) disprove everything Costas said.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • SWH

      TxMongoose did you know that in 1938 the US was under attack by Martians?!?

      Lol @ you 😉

      December 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Funny (not really), noone ever blames the knife in a stabbing, or a fist or boot after a fatal beating

    December 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chris

    Bob Costas did not make a plea for gun control, his condescending, pretentious and self-aggrandizing political commentary was a pronouncement of "the way it is/should be ...because I'm Bob Costas and I say so." What an ego. And, like so many in the liberal media, he ignored the facts. Impressive journalism, Bob.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marcus55901

    Why don't we do what the gun fans propose? Outlaw mental illness. Lock up anyone who shows any sign of it. We'll let a committee of Republican political operatives and NRA functionaries draw up the list of symptoms. We'll eventually put half the country in prison but, by God, our guns will be safe! Who cares about human rights, anyway. Praise NRA Jesus and pass the ammunition.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus55901 is an idiot

      Excuse me for my earlier post. I'm an idiot. I apologize for thinking that all gun owners all republicans and for making this a political debate. This tragedy is not because of politics.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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