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. Earl

    Costas has always diplayed an arrogance about himself, during the Olympics I would mute the TV when he was talking. He along with so many others in the media drank the Kool-Aid. As a "Proud Gun Owner" for more than 45 years I have never once felt the need to kill a human being, probably because of my Christian Beliefs. But I pity any Fool that trys to harm me or any of my family. Perhaps the difference is my Christianty provides me with a conscience as I try to live my life by Biblical commands.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kramer

    costas is an idiot.... no one wants to hear his personal beliefs... he should at least be chastised
    for his ridiculous rant....

    December 3, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BadBob

    The issue isnt firearms at all. The issue is violent young men. Millionaire thugs.
    Ban football.

    If it wasnt for football, he and his gf would still be alive.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob in Florida

    Perfect example of why I watch so little TV!

    I don't want to hear political commentary from any of the major news networks – let alone a sports commentator.

    The network needs to remind Mr. Costas what he was hired to do.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pat

    Cheeseburgers kill more people every year than guns.....chew on that Jason Whitlock.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan Miller

    Should Bob Costas be fired for expressing his gun control opinion on a national football league platform? Lets ask Hank Williams JR. Hanks situational comparison was turned into a direct comparison by the liberal media. There"s no mistaking Bob Costas"s remarks.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Football

      Hank Williams, Jr. was fired by a different network. Not all networks have the same values and beliefs.

      December 4, 2012 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mary West

    Bob Costas: You sir are a true idiot. I have had the highest respect for you overt the years. Now I have zero respect for you and any opinion you may ever give in the future. Millions of law abiding gun owners need to not only protect themselves from loosers like Jovan Belcher but also need to protect our rights to own and bear arms from idiots like you Bob. If Jovan had his warped mind made up to kill his girlfriend, he would have killed her by any means he had available. It happened to be a gun that he had available. He would have used any means available. A knife, bat, tire iron, vehicle, rope. Too bad you had to express your opinion on gun controll from your warped mind Bob. Millions of people will never respect or believe anything that comes out of your mouth again. Matter of fact most will switch the channel and never listen to you again no matter what show you are on. You should educate yourself on the facts before making stupid remarks that are total lies in the future fefore opening your big mouth and making a total fool out of yourself.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Grimm

    Those that screem for firing a some one for serious constructive opinion about violence in this country, are living in a gun worshiping echo chamber. Congratulations Bob, thanks from many of us who love football too.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ray

    Costas went brain dead on national television, his ranting shows his incompetence. I suppose since a person got killed by a drunk driver, then all cars should be banned from the country, since that person would still be alive if there were no cars. Not that the drunk driver had anything whatsoever to do with the car hitting the person. I think it's time for Costas to retire to the Funny Farm. I use to enjoy him, now he has turned into another nut case. If he's doing the Olympics next time, I won't watch him. He's flipped out, lets see if his employer is too. I seem to think so, thats why Fox is doing so great, they've left the nut cases to the other networks.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Captain Bob

    First, Costas; job is sports commentator. he is not on NFL to spout his personal views. I would not tune to listen to Rush Limbaugh for sports commentary.
    second, he made an idiot out of himself by passing on another moron's idea that a professional football player NEEDED a gun to kill. Guns are very handy for that purpose but, not having one would certainly not have thwarted his plans. In actuality, if SHE had had a gun she might well be alive today because a gun is a great equalizer. Guns DO save lives.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pete

    No Bob Costas was out of line with last nights remark..He should stick to commentary on football,not social issues in which he has no clue..I'm a gun owner and avid hunter with many a gun and I can tell you guns don't kill people,people kill people and that's the bottom line ..It's a great responsibility to own guns and should be treated that way as you saw in this case..If it weren't a gun it might have been a knife,hands anything to bring harm or eventual death so don't go off half cocked being the avenging angel to tell the world of the terrors of guns..Men centuries ago used arrows,clubs ,axes anything to protect or survive..Now guns are more of a sport in most states unless you're much like myself who hunts for relaxation and the enjoyment of being out in the wilderness against the elements for your next meal..This is also the case in the Zimmerman,Martin case..Zimmerman should have never owned a gun not with his mentality and ego ,he was a ticking time bomb ready to go off and people around him knew it...So to all of you against guns just remember what I said before and judge with an open mind because it may be you one day being judged....

    December 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tom Davis

    I am personally disgusted by the comments made by Mr. Costas during a football game. I believe he should lose his position (Like H.Williams Jr did) . Political opinions & personal views / divisive speech on topics other than football should not be tolerated by the NFL Commission and its supporters.
    If the NFL chooses to ignore this occurrence then we should boycott the sponsors of the programming including NBC Sports until Mr. Costas is removed.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tom Davis

    Perhaps we should remember Hank Williams Jr losing his role in Monday Night Football for a far less intrusive diatribe than Mr Costas. Some of the excuses for not firing him (Costas)are the same ones we spouted in support of HWJr and he was still removed. Can't have it both ways and if you have it for one and not the other, you are just supporting the divisive agenda, not healing it.

    December 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    Chicago's gun laws are the stricktest in the nation and they have a murder rate that rivals Mexico's...........Costas is a true liberal......................

    December 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ronald Mirolla

    Bob Costas is a hero for speaking out, knowing how the NRA and Fox News would come at him. He's right and I'm a gun owner, there are way to many guns out here. AK's should not be on the streets, this domino theory is BS spread by the NRA. Bravo Bob!

    December 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
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