Bob Costas delivers gun control commentary during halftime Sunday

Washington Post | Fox Sports | Media Matters
The longtime NBC sportscaster delivered a straight-to-camera commentary during halftime of the Sunday night broadcast, calling for tighter gun control after a Kansas City Chiefs player shot and killed his girlfriend and himself over the weekend.

Costas quoted and paraphrased from a column by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock:

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 their 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.”

Anchors on the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends took the other side of the argument this morning.

Gretchen Carlson argued:

When people unfortunately want to kill other people, there’s a lot of ways to do it. So, I don’t know. Would the rage have come out in a different way? Would he have strangled her? … Nobody will ever know whether or not he would have killed her with or without a gun.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade (also a Fox sports reporter) added:

I just don’t know if it’s appropriate enough on a Sunday night, less than 24 hours after the guy took his own life and killed his girlfriend and the mother of his baby, to make that stance. … I don’t really think we needed to hear that last night.

For what it’s worth, Costas’ commentary segments are not unprecedented. They usually focus on on-the-field matters, but sometimes cross over. Last season he gave a lecture against excessive endzone showboating, which touched on the country’s culture as much as players’ behavior.

Costas said: “For those of you too busy keeping up with the Kardashians to notice, we live in a culture that grows more stupid and graceless by the moment.”

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  • Mark Gannon

    Costa’s is promoting an America without a 2nd Amendment, where all the criminals own guns and the responsible citizen’s are defenseless to the thugs.

  • SkillSets

    Costas would have never been able to make this move when his former colleague knifed his ex-wife and her boyfriend at a Los Angeles home. That man was a former NFL player too. But that player had friends in higher places at NBC. Don Ohlmeyer would have lifted Costas off the apple box he uses to gain height and thrown him off the 15th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza if Costas said one word of commentary about Orenthal Simpson.

  • JTFloore

    there is a movement in multiple communities in the u.s. to allow citizens to arm themselves so they can carry guns pretty much anytime anywhere. since some people think that is as much the american way as football, maybe the nfl (and the nba and mlb etc.) will encourage drunk fans to bring loaded pistols to games for, uh, their, uh, “protection.” and then if enough drunk fans — or even sober ones — show up at sporting events with guns and shoot enough other fans, maybe THEN this arm-yourself-to-the-teeth mentaility that seems to be consuming much of the country (with the ever present encouragement of the nra) finally will be shown for what it is: f*ing insanity.

  • NotRogerAiles

    Thank you for your examples, which only show how narrow the debate is in this country on guns. One can’t say, “There are too many guns. Guns don’t make us safer” without people thinking that you must also mean, “We should be restricting your right to own guns.” But they’re not at all the same thing.

    If one said, “There should be fewer abortions,” some abortion-rights advocates would be reluctant to agree with that, because they would assume that you must really be saying, “abortion should be restricted.”

    It may be one of those times where a preface is needed. If Costas had been calling for some sort of gun regulation or control, he would have said so. Perhaps he should have made clear, however, what he wasn’t saying, lest you assume he’s saying what he did not say: Look, no matter what opinion you hold on gun control or the Second Amendment, we should at least acknowledge that people are too quick to reach for a gun, that guns make it too easy for disputes to turn fatal, and guns make us less safe, on the whole, not more safe.

    P.S. I don’t read Whitlock ridiculing the Second Amendment at all. He is pointing out its limitations. Sure, the football player could have killed his girlfriend without a gun, but the gun made it easier. The gun made her less safe, not more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.carpenter.798 Ed Carpenter

    Costas was on a football program.We tune in to watch football not a show on his personal thoughts on gun control.If i want to go to that debate i will tunein fox or cnn which jas more info that costa has on the subject.Switerland has a low crime rate and each citizen is required to have a handgun!!!!!

  • fmjohnson

    Hi, NotRogerAiles and Co. (not really sure to whom I’m supposed to respond):

    Nowhere in the Gettysburg Address does Lincoln literally say, “I’m in favor of finishing this war on behalf of the union and the soldiers who have already died for it.” But that’s the clear meaning one is supposed to draw from his rhetoric.

    Whitlock believes that “if [Belcher] didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

    The Second Amendment is the primary federal barrier against “legislative or legal bans or reductions in the right to own guns.” In essence, “The Second Amendment” is short-hand for the support of gun rights and opposition to gun control laws. Whitlock ridicules the Second Amendment, not once, but twice.

    So it’s a fair inference (unless you think Whitlock is okay with Belcher shooting his girlfriend and himself) that he (and by extension, Costas) is in favor of measures that would have kept Belcher from possessing or owning a gun, i.e., of gun-control measures.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, either. News outlets on the Left, Right, and Center are reporting on Costas (and by extension, Whitlock) as “advocating gun control”:

    Bob Costas advocates gun control during half time show. Did he cross a line? (Christian Science Monitor)

    Bob Costas Gun Control Speech: Jovan Belcher Murder-Suicide Inspires Halftime Segment (HuffPo)

    Bob Costas’ plea for gun control sparks ire on right (MSNBC)

    Bob Costas takes heat for gun-control commentary on ‘Sunday Night Football’ (Entertainment Weekly)

    Costas advocates for gun control (FoxSports.com)

    Costas calls for gun control on ‘Sunday Night Football’
    (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

    NBC’s Bob Costas Goes on Gun Control Rant About NFL Player’s Murder-Suicide (Fox News)

    I think pretty much all of America heard Bob Costas, and by extension, Jason Whitlock, advocating gun control. I’m not sure where you and your guests are on the political spectrum, but I’m pretty sure you’re the only people who didn’t.

  • NotRogerAiles

    To make it clear: Go back and read what you’ve posted again, from Whitlock. Every word of that commentary is “anti-gun,” but not a word of it is pro-gun-control. See?

  • NotRogerAiles

    Yes, and saying that fewer people should reach for their guns, and even that fewer people should have guns, is not at all the same as advocating gun control (a legislative or legal ban or reduction in the right to own guns). You can’t see that distinction?

  • NotRogerAiles

    Yes, and not a word in that column, or the commentary by Costas, spoke in favor of any sort of gun control. Bemoaning how many people are too quick to reach for their guns, and that there are too many guns, isn’t at all the same as advocating any kind of control of guns. You can’t see that distinction?

  • NotRogerAiles

    Yes, and there’s nothing in there at all, not a word, about gun control. Saying it’s bad that so many people choose to reach for a gun is not at all the same as saying that guns should be “controlled.” You can’t see this?

  • fmjohnson

    Whitlock:

    “We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.

    “How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?

    “Our current gun culture simply 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…

    “What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today…. That is the message I wish Chiefs players, professional athletes and all of us would focus on Sunday and moving forward. 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.”

    And Costas quoted or paraphrased most of that in approval.

  • AndrewMilner

    “I just don’t know if it’s appropriate enough on a Sunday night, less than 24 hours (sic) after the guy took his own life and killed his girlfriend and the mother of his baby, to make that stance.”

    Was it “appropriate enough” to play an NFL game where a player had committed suicide 36 hours before?

  • sargeh

    Costas sees every opportunity to speak as a pulpit.

  • NotRogerAiles

    Where did Costas or Whitlock say anything “calling for tighter gun control”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mnauffts Mitch Nauffts

    You go, Bob.