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. Combatoverrideswitch

    I'm still going to watch Sunday night football but will be turning the channel at halftime. Costas is free to speak and I am free to view other channels.

    December 4, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. The Dude

    Americans are too stupid, self centered and ignorant to own weapons. May be fine for other nations (like Canada) but the US is full of complete morons.

    December 4, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Football

    Sunday Night Football is a football program, and the murder-suicide of Jovan Belcher was a FOOTBALL related event. I think it was perfectly appropriate to mention it, people were all butthurt that CBS DIDN'T mention it until late in the first segment of "NFL Today." Anyways, Bob used his first amendment right to make a comment about a sports related event. I say good for him.

    December 4, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    By the way, YES, guns are the issue. If your argument is, [cheeseburgers kill more people a year than guns do] you truly have no place speaking on the issue. The numbers may be true, but this issue and any other adult issue is clearly above your level of intelligence.

    December 4, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan Miller

      Murder is the issue. Self defense could be the issue. The 2nd amendment gives us that right. to protect ourselves against evil.

      December 4, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Terry

    He has the same right to free speech I have he just has a bigger platform to speak from. I am a gun owner and he has the right to his view, now that he's had it he should go work for the view and leave football to the football fans. Thank you

    December 4, 2012 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shane

    Gun control is not the problem in what happen over the weekend. If we do take away gun rights, like most states and other countrys. We would have to use other means of weapon and if no guns, then there will be knifes and when someone puts a control on that, then what will be control next? Wood? But what happen over the weekend was sad, but if he didnt have a gun, he probly would have done it still. It was not the gun that was the weapon, it was the person who did the crime was the weapon.

    December 4, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. CitizenX

    Anyone that thinks gun control and eliminating the 2nd amendment is the answer, is a complete moron. If I have to explain that, then you are more than likely in that group. Costas can say whatever he chooses whether it is right or wrong. That is also part of the freedoms Americans must preserve or we just become another country like China.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • chaney44145

      How is gun control working for the UK and Mexico? Criminals do not follow laws.

      December 4, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Liberty

    While seemingly well intentioned Costas missed the mark. More than an issue of gun control, this incident & it's aftermath is a demonstration of societal views and acceptance of violence against women.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. chaney44145

    Bob Costas, If Jovan Belcher did not use a gun he still would of committed murder/suicide with another object. I comes down to personal responsibility. Next your going to try and claim the microphone made you talk about gun control and your are not responsable?
    Bob Costas should be fired for his comment. Just like Howard Cosell got fired for saying what he thought.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ed

    Costas knows as much about guns as he knows about football or any other sport. Tell me what teams he has ever player for (none, zero, nada). I see he didn't mention the fact that Belcher was intoxicated from the night before and spent the night with and outside his girlfriend’s house. Hey Bob why don't you talk about excessive drinking and womanizing on your halftime show you loser.

    December 4, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Realist

    What a complete joke. Costa's should be fired. OJ and this other goof ball could have simply strangled them with there bare hands, put a baggy over their heads and suffocated the life from them, used a rope, a hammer, Ax, chain saw, knife,baseball bat, tire iron, you name it. Those people are deranged and out of their mind. Guns don't kill people, people kill people you moron. Had she had a gun she may have been able to defend herself from a violent "person"..

    December 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Exactly, a man shot his dad in the head with a bow and arrow and when that didn't kill him, he knifed him. We can find things all day of how people killed people and no gun was used. In some cases you wish they had used a gun, it would have been a less of a horrible way die. Like burning alive.

      December 5, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joseph

    i dont think he should be fired -_- he was just trying to the point across where people will actualy hear it more

    December 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. shequaila

    I think that he was right for talking about gun control because if guns are starting to have problems with people killing themselves an not using them to protect themselves..I think people shouldn't be able to have guns if they going to do things like that.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • franklovesfl

      So, by your logic, no more:

      Belts, kitchen knives,ant-freeze,rat poison,vases,fire pokers,axes,cars,hands,etc.

      Where would you have this end?

      December 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Birk

    Bob Costas is a sports caster and should limit his coments on air to sports. There is no reason to spew his ignorant ideas of cun control and ploitically motivated views in such a setting. It is not the gun but the person who comitted the act. OJ didn't need a gun to kill Nicole so get the politics and personal agenda off the sports brodcast and stick to what you supposedly know something about Mr. Costas.

    December 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jerry Doll

    I will never again watch any sports that has Bob Costa as the broadcaster. Its Bob Costa's and NBC's right to freedom of the press. It is my right to watch them or not. How dumb can NBC be to insult this many of their viewers

    December 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
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