Bob Costas, in his “Sunday Night Football” halftime commentary, set social media ablaze Sunday night calling for stricter gun control in the wake of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
"If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun," Costas ranted, "he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Kansas City police say Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, on Saturday morning, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committing suicide in the parking lot of the team's practice facility by shooting himself in the head, with Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli looking on.
It's not yet clear what prompted Belcher's actions, but that hasn't stopped public speculation- which brings us to Sunday night.
In his commentary segment at halftime of the Cowboys-Eagles game, Costas paraphrased and quoted extensively from a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, the Associated Press reported.
Here’s a section of Costas’s remarks via Awful Announcing’s transcript):
You knew 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 the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but, who today, said it so well that we may as well just 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 teenage boys bloodied 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 its possible connection 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.”
The online reaction to Costas' segment was swift. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people!" one viewer said over at Fox Sports.
"Look Costas does not understand domestic violence or mental illness. It's not the gun. He is so wrong if he thinks that Belcher not having a gun they both would be alive today. I think he should know better too. Some bleeding heart liberal who wants to save the world might be niave enough to think guns are the problem. But there is other ways to kill. And when you are that angry, or full of hate you do the unthinkable. He could have beat her to death, strangled her, sufficated her, burned down the house. People run over people all the time. So it is lame to control guns to stop murder. The lamestream media will go with this in hopes of once again control us. But the fact is deal with domestic issues first and you'll get a better outcome."
And another: "Think about this. If that murderers girlfriend had also had a gun, might she be alive today?"
Others took issue with the broadcaster for expressing his personal views on a program meant for entertainment. "Fire Costas!!!!" one reader barked. "He should not use a Sunday night football game to air his agenda"
What do you think? Was this the right time and forum for Costas to discuss the issue?