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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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.


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