Bob Costas was right, when he led into his Sunday Night Football commentary about what was perceived to be gun control, that he was walking into a minefield for what he was about to say, following the Kansas City Chiefs Jevon Belcher murder-suicide incident.
In his Sunday night halftime commentary, Costas quotes an article written by The Kansas City Star’s columnist Jason Whitlock, after saying that we have heard all around the sports world that old cliche “something like this puts it all in perspective.” He then adds well if so “that perspective has a short shelf life” because we will hear it again the next time a tragedy like this happens.
He says if you want some actual perspective on the situation, he mentions Whitlock’s column and quotes it. “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.”
Costas continued, “In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. 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,” Costas concluded.
Costas said afterwards that his Twitter account blew up with criticism. In an interview Monday afternoon he said, “I knew there would be a reaction to that, and I am not dismayed by that at all.”
But Costas says he wasn’t necessarily calling for tighter gun controls and pointed out that he was highlighting a writer’s commentary on the country’s “gun culture.” The comments, he noted, did not include the phrases “gun control” or “Second Amendment.”
“Obviously, I am not talking about banning gun ownership or repealing the Second Amendment,” Costas said. “I am not talking about a person’s right to protect their family, their home or property, or to hunt.”
“Some people are motivated by this issue, and social media allows those who are most motivated to comment,” said Costas, who lives in the St. Louis area. “What it doesn’t reflect are the dozens of calls I got from people saying they agreed, that (the writer’s commentary) was good.”