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 clichÃ©s 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.
â€˜Our current gun culture,' Whitlock wrote,Â '... 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.Â 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.Â 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.
I don't blame Bob Costas for his rant, I blame his microphone...
You hit the nail on the head. Or should I say the hammer hit the nail on the head.
I think Bob Costa should be fired. I don't tune in to a sports show or a game to listen to a personal opition on social or Consitutional issues. Stick to something he knows a little bit about and I do mean a little bit.
Everybody trots out their pet theories about motive. Chill out, say a prayer for the families, and wait for valid facts to emerge.
What about the people who have a car crash and die. Will Costas say that if they didn't have a car they wouldn't be dead. How dumb can he get.
To begin, I am a supporter of gun control. With that said, I would like to know if anyone in this world
has the mental capacity to analyze something from more than one stand point. I am tired of hearing gun control come up in conversation as a scapegoat for these sort of occurrences. An action like this, although made easier with a hand pistol, is not specifically motivated by that hand pistol. Evil like this is within us and is motivated by the culture we have created. With the gun out of the picture, and a kitchen knife chosen instead, I would love to promote a movement against Farberware Knives. Please, consider the roots of this mans actions.
And to finish. I absolutely love the fact that so many news groups are arguing/discussing whether or not it was appropriate for the NFL Show as well as the moment of silence during the game. Instead of that why dont we consider if it was inappropriate NOT to acknowledge the newly defined life of this couples 3 month old baby.
It was a shocking crime and someone voiced an opinion, off with his head!
It seemed an appropriate time to have this discussion. Moment of silence is welcome but inadequate. We won't get rid of guns in the U.S. Seems reasonable to ask why are they so prevalent is it necessary.
My questions are for the gun owners out there. What would YOU DO to stop the violence? We've seen shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and every where else you can imagine. Obviously you don't agree with those shootings, so what would YOU DO to solve the problem. Cops get shot so arming everyone wont work. The bad guy will make sure they shoot you first. What if while firing back you kill an innocent bystander or two? Are you ok with that? Should you go to jail? At what point do you become a nuisance to society while trying to kill the bad guy? Gun owners should be the ones taking the lead here because whack job shooters makes them look bad!
I have questions are for the gun owners out there. What would you do to stop the violence? We've seen shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and every where else you can imagine. Obviously you don't agree with those shootings, so what would you to solve the problem. Cops get shot so arming everyone wont work. The bad guy will make sure they shoot you first. What if while firing back you kill an innocent bystander or two? Are you OK with that? Should you go to jail? At what point do you become a nuisance to society while trying to kill the bad guy? Gun owners should be the ones taking the lead here because whack job shooters makes them look bad!
I have questions are for the gun owners out there. What would you do to stop the violence? We've seen shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and every where else you can imagine. Obviously you don't agree with those shootings, so what would you to solve the problem. Cops get shot so arming everyone wont work. The bad guy will make sure they shoot you first. What if while firing back you kill an innocent bystander or two? Are you OK with that? Should you go to jail? At what point do you become a nuisance to society while trying to kill the bad guy?
You can't stop the violence. It has been around before firearms, it will be around after. Sadly, it's a part of life. The issue is now that the media has so many sources and voice reachouts, we hear more about incidents and most of the incidents are only reported because they bring ratings.
There is no solving these issues. If these people intend to kill, they will kill. Without the gun, you will have more bombings, stabbings ect. Then what? Ban the chemicals to make the bomb and ban knives? Easy enough, but your average flunkie can build a bomb and cutting a steak with a spoon is going to be tough.
Law enforcement are not required to protect the individual.
The bad guy may not shoot me first. In a store with one or two BGs, they can not focus on everyone. In fact, if you follow stories that aren't shown by the big name medias, you will find a lot of self defense cases where the victim was able to protect themselves and others.
If I kill an innocent bystander? I often say people who carry have to be excellent marksmen, otherwise you're doing no one a favor. Though, I will say that if I go to jail for a stray bullet, LEOs need to be held to the same regards. Follow back to the recent NYC incident.
"I say the Second Amendment is. in order of importance, the first amendment. It is America's First Freedom, the one right that protects all of the others. Among freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of redress of grievances, it is the first among equals. It alone offers the absolute capacity to live without fear. The right to keep and bear arms is the one right that allows "rights" to exist at all."
"There can be no free speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom to protest, no freedom to worship your god, no freedom to speak your mind, no freedom from fear, no freedom for your children and for theirs, for anybody, anywhere, without the Second Amendment freedom to fight for it."
nothing wrong with owning a gun. there are a million ways to kill a person... if guns were taken away the murder rate would not drop...
Ken, guns are not the issue. We have a cultural issue. Complete disregard for each other in society is the issue. The locations you listed are all "gun free" zones. I would, with a high degree of confidence, say that the reason those venues were chosen by an individual to commit such a crime is that the criminal didn't feel unarmed citizens were a threat. I'm going to have to disagree with "the bad guy will shoot you first" comment. I believe a trained and skilled gun owner can stop an assailant and greatly reduce the chances of accidentally hitting a bystander. True, police officers do get shot. Police officers do shoot bystanders as well. They are trained marksmen. Unfortunately accidents happen. I do not believe taking a gun from a law abiding citizen is the answer. Taking that citizens gun is basically saying, "you no longer have the right to defend yourself, your loved ones, or those unable to defend themselves." Taking away a gun to prevent gun crimes is like taking away alcohol and cars to prevent drunk drivers. I urge you to look at the areas of the U.S. with the strictest gun control laws. Those areas have the highest murder rates. That is a fact not a guess. The true issue is that people don't care about their fellow human beings. It is extremely sad and unfortunate.
Well said, Brandon, ken, there is no simple answer. But the answer is NOT taking guns from the good citizens and making them defensless. If you made all guns illegal the criminals would still have them (easy to make and steal from police) and you would have accomplished nothing but make crime easier for the criminals. I will go out on a limb and say most gun owners would go along with a plan that would actually stop gun violence but banning guns won't do it (see the countries that have already tried this method). So, instead of just mindlessly yelling for gun control why not come up with a plan that will really work without penalizing good citizens? Gun control is "feel good" legislation that does not work. I'm listening.....
It was not only appropriate for him to comment, it was the perfect time to do so. I liken the fact that it's even being questioned to the republican outrage after the theater shooting in CO when people wanted to talk about gun control. They said it was too soon. It wasn't then and it's not now. Those that don't want to talk about it now, don't want to ever talk about it. Their hope is that we will all forget about it. And we usually do, sadly. Thank you Bob, for putting it out front.
It's the 2nd Amendment. Shut up, Bob.
This country should change their first amendment and it should Read " You have the right to free speech unless you a large majority of people disagree with you.
It never fails that when someone speaks their mind and its not in favor of what the majority think. The person should get fired from their job or some other God Forsaken punishment.
Do I agree with what Bob Costas said? No. Though I understand his frustration. Personally I do not think that even if he didn't have a gun he still would have killed his girlfriend and himself. Last time I checked Knives work just fine. His frustration probably came from another senseless murder due to someone who probably shouldn't have had a gun while just a couple of days later a teenager was shot because he had his music too loud. Guns are not the problem. This society is the problem. I look around and more people are obsessed with material possessions then helping feed the hungry or something to give back.
drunk driving kills more people than guns do.