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. j. belcher

    Bob Costas is just another CLUELESS gun-grabbing NYC liberal. Much like RINO Bill O'Riley.

    December 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. krehator

    To assume that someone without a gun won't use something else is...........................stupid.

    December 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rob

    Bob Costas had no business commenting on gun control. Next he will be talking about alcohol control with the latest incident with the Dallas Cowboy football players.

    December 9, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Zane

    Gun control wound not have stopped anyone intent on killing someone. He could have stabbed, strangled, or beat her to death. Maybe the whole pro football culture is to blame. I think this proves we should ban pro football. Let them get a regular job and worry about paying your mortgage and fixing the car instead of which club are we partying in tonight.

    December 9, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ethel the frog

    Hard to shoot someone without a gun.

    December 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rnk

    Guns don't kill people, People kill people.
    But, we still want to limit the weapons that other countries have. Why?
    Yes, other weapons / things could be used to kill someone. But, I can run away from a guy who threatens me with a golf club. A guy with a gun doesn't need to get within 25 feet of me. How do I run away from that? A grown man needs to hit me a lot to kill me. Some curious 5-year old can kill me with a gun.

    December 9, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jerry Hunt

    We do not watch football on Sunday evenings to hear some pipsqueek while understanably concerned about the trajedy of the death an NFL play and his girlfriend utter an editorial on his obvious views against our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He should be terminated from his work not only with regard to NFL football but the network altogether. Costas speculates that had it not been for a gun, the deaths would not have occurred not personally knowing without being there at the time, that the player might have used some other method of sommitting suicide after he killed his girlfriend. Bob Costas was out of line making his comments about guns regardless of where the audience stands on possessing guns. I have never been that impressed with his sports reporting, having never played the game. At best he is a "news reader" rather than a respected journalist or reporter. I will turn off the sound if he ever is on television speaking about anything. NFL football should take issue with the network if he continues to be a part of any aspect of NFL play commentary.

    December 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    What will Bob Costas talk about at halftime at the Packer game? Will he want to ban the use of motor vehicles!

    December 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Wonder why Costas didn't call for a ban on cars after the crash that killed the Dallas player ? Obviously , if we don't have access to cars , trajedies like this cannot occur . SAME STUPID LOGIC !

    December 10, 2012 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Yenk

      Costas will now have to speak on outlawing bow and arrow and knives after the Christopher Krumm killing his father and fathers girl friend. As has been said to many times inanimate objects do not kill people kill, with any thing at hand or with their hands.
      Governments do not like guns in private hands and seems to many other people cant figure out defending ourselfes is our right.

      December 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eno, Brian

    The gentleman who killed himself was on crack cocaine. He was always looking for a rock to burn. Blame the crack cocaine.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Michael

    Mr. Costas has the right perspective. The culture of violence is unacceptable in the US. We should follow the lead of a famous marshall – Wyatt Earp and collect all weapons in the community.

    December 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bill

    Bob Costos is one of the best sports authorities going but he stepped on his own tongue when he made the remark about gun control. He should stick to something he knows about and not stir up a hornets nest in his "rambling".

    December 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kathy

    There is the blood of children on all of our hands for our failure to speak up and scream from the rafters!!! Thank you Bob Costa!!!

    December 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DWK

    As an Australian who lives in a country with strict gun control, I can't fathom how people think gun control is more about a political issue rather than about the safety of citizenry and children. Yes the Second Amendment important, but the right to bear arms should be a privilege for those citizens who have earnt it rather than for anyone with a mental condition or a personality disorder. That was never the original intention, even as a foreigner with family in the States I know that for sure. And how can you rank the importance of a game above something like this?

    December 15, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Landij

    This is an issue America needs to face. There is no 'right' time, there is only now. Lives are being snuffed out daily and weekly by guns in the wrong hands. Yes, I know people are behind the guns, but guns as a method of killing and injuring are so easy, so available, so 'removed' or detached. How many muliptle murders have been caused by knives, or strangling or bludgeioning. With an automatic weapon capable of firing many shots in quick succession, it is relatively easy to kill. Many people at once. Or only one, if you're not a good shot but can fire three or four or five times rapidly.
    We are so obsessed with guns in this country. We must break this obsession. I sat next to someone Friday night at dinner, discussing the Newtown shooting. He proudly boasted of using guns as early as 8 or 9, having been accidentally shot by a hunter at 12, and buying his 7 and 9 year old sons BB guns for Christmas! He has multiple guns in his house and insisted they are carefully stored, and the real problem is with people whose parents didn't raise the 'right'. I told him he was very, very lucky that nothing had happened to his family so far.

    December 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
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