Sportscaster Bob Costas hijacked Sunday Night Football tonight to give football fans a patronizing sermon about the need for gun control in the aftermath of the Jovan Belcher shootings:
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 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.”
Initially, some Twitter users were in a state of shock:
What … is … Bob Costas … doing?
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) December 3, 2012
Once that passed, hundreds (or thousands?) of viewers took to Twitter to express their displeasure:
Bob Costas, who’s gotten rich thanks in part to a sport that destroys men’s bodies and brains, gives us a little civics lecture.
— andy levy (@andylevy) December 3, 2012
The Media Left at Halftime: Bob Costas pushing gun control, quoting…who else?..a sports writer on ridding the country of the 2nd Amendment
— Lou Dobbs (@loudobbsnews) December 3, 2012
…and Bob Costas goes full gun control on NBC. Fantastic.
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) December 3, 2012
I literally disagreed with everything bob costas said
— Mike (@L3mon_Meringue) December 3, 2012
I will gladly debate Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas on gun control, BUT we tuned in for an NFL game! Ridiculous programming decision!
— John Kincade (@JohnKincade) December 3, 2012
Bob Costas is a decent sportscaster. He should stick with sports. #JustSayin
— Rob Johnson (@TweetRobJohnson) December 3, 2012
Bob Costas apparently doesn’t approve of the second amendment. #dumbass
— Jim Jamitis (@anthropocon) December 3, 2012
Does Bob Costas know that people are murdered everyday by means other than gunshots? Removing guns will not stop psychos from killing people
— Jason Kelce (@Jkelce) December 3, 2012
If it turns out Jovan Belcher had brain damage from football will Bob Costas
call for "Football control" laws?
— Drew McCoy (@DrewMTips) December 3, 2012
What if Jovan Belcher’s murder victim (Kasandra Michelle Perkins) had been armed?
If Jovan Belcher’s girlfriend had a concealed carry permit she might still be alive.
— Jim Jamitis (@anthropocon) December 3, 2012
If Jovan Belcher’s girlfriend was packing heat she’d probably be alive and a 3 month old wouldn’t have lost both parents.
— Nikki (@nikkibama) December 3, 2012
At least one Twitter user suggested Second Amendment supporters protest Costas’ comments by turning off their televisions:
Seriously, folks. Did Bob Costas irritate you? Shut off the game. Right now. Stop helping NBC make money.
— Peter Cook (@Slublog) December 3, 2012
During his rant, Costas cited a column by Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock. Here is an excerpt from that column:
I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. 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.
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.
Update: Whitlock thanked Costas for the shout-out:
Thanks to Bob Costas and Sunday Night Football in America for supporting my Jovan Belcher column. Appreciate it.
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) December 3, 2012