The halftime essays of Bob Costas on Sunday Night Football are usually little more than an excuse for NBC's prized sportscaster to get some face time and give a lecture to the largest primetime audience in America. The essays are as forced and unnecessary as Chris Berman's Two Minute Drill, although the two segments couldn't be further apart in their mission.
Given the much-talked about responses of the NFL pregame shows to the Jovan Belcher tragedy, I wondered if NBC would give Costas free reign to give an opinion on the story with his halftime essay, whether it would be avoided completely, or handled carefully.
As it turns out, not only did Costas use his halftime essay to comment on the events in Kansas City, he used the moment to provide his thoughts on the gun culture in America. He even quoted Jason Whitlock (yes, that Jason Whitlock) to cement his point in a polarizing commentary. Here's the video evidence and transcript...
Costas: 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 reaction to Costas' essay was as widespread and inflamed as you would expect. Costas dove right in to one of the most hotly contested political issues in America with a halftime essay at a football game. We're not talking about the epidemic of touchdown celebrations or Peyton Manning's comeback anymore.
(Before the comment thread turns into Politico, I know this sounds crazy, but there are decent people on both sides and this issue is more complex than 93 seconds of commentary. This is in spite of everyone telling you everyone on the other side is a nut, a wing nut, or a nutjob. Jason Whitlock, the same sportswriter Costas quoted, baiting "gun nuts" on his Twitter account probably isn't helpful for anyone hoping to advance the conversation. There are those who will say weighty issues like gun control have no place in a sports enviornment. There are others who will say the conversation won't truly be advanced until these issues intersect with sports and real life. Both sides have compelling points to their positions.)
Nuance is a lost art in this day and age, but it needs to be applied in this case. I agree wholeheartedly with both Costas and Whitlock on the inherent, serious problem regarding the gun culture in this country. I also think it's extraordinarily presumptive to say, "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today" as if either individual is the authority on the lives that were lost.
Regardless of the topic, the larger point is that Costas' editorializing needs to be saved for a more fitting platform like Costas Tonight or Rock Center. The halftime essays have been out of place on SNF since their inception, this week notwithstanding.
This morning, CBS didn't strike the right balance when they pushed this story to 12:05 on their pregame show. This evening, NBC didn't strike the right balance handing Bob Costas the platform to lecture those who can never attain proper "perspective."
If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.'' It's possible he could have used a knife, or poison, or tied his woman up in his car and turned on the engine inside his garage but all these plans are time consumlng and possibly very painful. Guns are easy, designed to facilitate death. They allow people to be spontaneous and that is why, in our modern society, their use should be limited to people who have at least the same training as, say, a cop. The thread of argument concerning individual vs government is a matter of opinion we could argue until tommorow morning. I would argue that 9mm or semi automatics won't do much against smart bombs and tanks, if it comes to that?! I'm much more concerned about the individual vs the individual, and the ease in which we can blow each other away. I've had a 9 mm pointed at my head for $5. Even if I had been armed it was totally unexpected, no time to react! The freedom to kill someone else that easily is wrong. It limits all of our freedom and I don't like it!
@peter1000 Sorry, but you don't know what you are talking about. Lol, using a knife is time consuming? All he had to do was grab it and start stabbing! Hell as a football player, all he had to do was choke her! He grossly outweighed her an easily could have killed her.
Guns are designed to shoot a projectile. They can be used for good or bad. They can be used for target shooting, or to defend yourself from a criminal.
Cops actually have LESS or equal training than most people who have guns. And requiring a right to have training is a dangerous idea- like a poll tax. As for your argument on guns vs tanks, look up the Warsaw rebellion. It can be done.
Finally, if you had a gun pointed at you, and you had no time to react, then you weren't paying attention! Its called situational awareness. I always look at people who are around me, and nobody will get the drop on me because I'll be watching them before they even know it.
Bob Costas should stick to commentating, and leave his political views to himself. There is more to this situation then what we know right now, and as always, the first knee jerk reaction from the ever so take away everyone's freedoms, aka Liberal loons, is TAKE AWAY EVERYONE GUNS, EVERYONE WHO OWNS A GUN IS GUILTY!! It is shallow, and un-American, but then again, that is what Liberals have become.~~~SHALLOW AND UN-AMERICAN!
The point is that Belcher murdered Kasandra Perkins. It is not to be blamed on what was used. HE KILLED HER! And if he wasn't a coward he would stand trial for murder. So how the hell can anyone make a statement like, " If he didn't have a gun Kasandra Perkins would still be alive". No one knows what happened except Belcher and Perkins and God. And you can bet your last dollar Kasandra Perkins was at a gigantic disadvantage, But if he was that violent and aggressive he could even have used his hands. Not a nice thought, but true. Going off on gun control is smoke and mirrors. So how many people knew he was in this state of mind and didn't do anything about it. Oh ya I forgot he was being controlled by a gun. And if this concussion idea really is an underlying cause, where the hell was the Team Doctors, Coaches, Trainers. Oh ya the guns fault. Weather you believe in the Second Amendment or not this is not the place to throw it around. Ms. Perkins leaves an infant and a young life just beginning. Just because Belcher played Pro Football he is still responsible himself for destroying this young woman's life as well as her child's. The method he used is just a part of this most tragic situation.
my response to bob costas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iENtJ6v-34
I wonder if Mr. Costa was similarly inflamed when it was reported in MTV that "The Homecoming Queen has a Gun'?
Does anybody else notice that whie Bob Costas is doing his Halftime essay that God Bless America is playing in the background at Cowboys Stadium???
gun control wouldnt have stopped belcher from killing his wife. just watched an episode of snapped as man is stabbed 20 times. as a former military police officer, i learned someone with intent will find a way to get it done.
Banning guns is a great idea. If a ban had been in place, Ron and Nicole would still be alive today!
My issue is that this tragedy doesn't arise from a gun issue, but rather a head injury/concussion issue. Allowing an NFL mouthpiece like Costas to deflect our attention from this fact is wrong on so many levels and makes the NFL look far worse than it already does.
This isn't the 1800's anymore. The days of militias are over. While everyone has the constitutional right to 'bear arms' our founding fathers did not have semi-automatic rifles or high powered hand guns in mind when scripting the second amendment.
Comparing gun deaths to spoons making people fat is unequivocal and makes any idiot using the comparison instantly lose credit. The facts are simple, America is number one in fire arm deaths out of any other first world country.
You are absolutely right. It is the 21st century - in which a preponderance of voters chose a man whose administration sold guns to druggies in Mexico (Fast-and-Furious); probably permitted an administration invitee from C.A.R.E. to tickle the talking points presented by the US Ambassador to the UN on 5 Sunday news shows. No, there is no difference between the 18th, 19th, 20th, and, yes, the 21st centuries. There are always those whose lives are spent trying to disarm their neighbors - especially if those same folks work for the government or have never studied the rule set in the Bill of Rights. The Founders included the 2nd Amendment, because they knew EVERYTHING about all types of government. There are two Amendments that politicians could do without: the First and the Second, and, if thjey could, they would jettison them all. There was only one reason in our history for any central government handout, control of a voting block. Imagine how out future looks to ex-Copmmunists in Eastern Europe. Here's the US, in which the voters choose STATE-supported infanticide (NOT PRIVATE ABORTION which WAS the SCOPUS decision), run-away debt, AND, a person who's mantra is, "I won, so just shut up and let me rule!" Right now, my ongoing analysis of US education is stuck on the fact that young Americans appear to have been seriously trained to come-up-short when anyone even alludes to Christmas as the "BREAK". On the other hand, they know NOTHING about their givernment, and thus, can hardly wait to vote for more 'STUFF". The politicians have extended an invitation to all voters to concentrate on all things trivial. Ask the nearest 20-year-old if s/her knows anything about "Digital". High school graduates don't know geography, history, language, math, science and expecially, they don't appear to know anything about what drives their stuff. They leave that to the President - whoever it is.
@FredMonson @19shane Fred is correct. When our Founding Fathers chose to add the 2nd Amendment it was to protect colonists from the tyranny of government. Remember Gen Gage had sent Regulars to Lexington to confiscate firearms and powder on 4/19/1775. Also, once you have been violated by a criminal your attitude is totally changed forever. Self protection is a right from criminals or government. My family will never be at the mercy of anyone that intends us harm or ill again. Today, so many of our people live in naive denial believing their government is to be trusted and would not encroach on our freedoms. As much as I don't want to say this don't believe it. Our current administration, at all levels, are elitists beliveing they know more about how we should and can live our lives than we do. This is scary as our freedoms and rights are not in our control anymore.I believe if our gov takes firearms from law abiding citizens we will be at the mercy of those of low character and no conscience. There are more of these people than we know. Bake47
Read some history some time! The newfangled "high tech" Long Rifles of the American Revolution helped win the war against the highly trained British who relied on the “old tech” Smooth bore Brown Bess. The Founders understood change and knew what they were talking about when they wrote the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and did not try to limit us on what arms we could bare or that we could only use them to hunt with.
@wilspeaking Oh man, you're so right. Our founding fathers without a doubt predicted the M4, AR15, AK47, Beretta, Uzi or even the M1, which is totally why they didn't have them back then . How silly of me to not give them the credit the so rightfully deserve.Gun Control was not even a concept back then, otherwise the Second Amendment would be written a little different.
You still don't get it do you? From the Founders' points of view they had some of the most advanced weapons of the day, unimaginable just a few years prior. The American Long Rifle gave them the ability to accurately reach out over 200 yards and hit their target where the British Brown Bess was limited to less than 100 yards. To the British these arms were frightening and in the hands of experienced marksman there use was devastating. But you keep getting stuck in firearms then vs now. There will always be better ways to kill the enemy, that is one reason we won that war and the Founders wanted to make sure our citizenry kept that edge over any future tyrants.
That bears repeating: some of the weapons used during the American Revolution were unimaginable just years prior to the war.
@19shane @wilspeaking Hmmm... I wonder if the founding fathers would have written the First Amendment differently if they had forseen the power of the modern press, word processing, broadcast media and the internet?
Would they have written the Fourth and Fifth Amendments differently if they'd forseen the Drug War and the rise of International Terrorism?
I doubt it. They saw some rights as universal - not constrained because of possible technological advances. They were not only forward thinkers, they were first adopters of useful technology.
But it sure is fun to pretend otherwise, while opining in an internet forum typing away on your laptop which surely could never have been imagined by the most imaginative in the 18th Century.
Costas said it perfectly. Guns ARE the problem. Right wing dolts say if she had a gun everything would've been ok. No you mindless RW morons. There would have been 2 dead in that apartment and maybe more. Ignorant and braindead conservatives are so stupid they believe everyone in the Aurora movie theater had guns the tragedy wouldn't have happened. The reality is having 200 people firing guns in a dark theater would've killed almost everyone in the theater. It's sad conservatives are so infinitely ignorant and stupid. In study after study with well trained professionals like cops they all have demonstrated during a crisis they would shoot the wrong person. But studies, facts and reality have no room in a conservative's 'brain'. They need their guns to prove their manhood. Sadly, the calibers of their guns are equal to their low IQs, not many over 32 or 45. Most are 22. While they worship their guns these same dolts claim to be Christians, totally oblivious to the obvious fact Jesus would never carry a gun. Conservatives claiming to be Christians have zero faith in Jesus. Hell, their only love are their beloved guns they need to raise their diminished egos. Any person who needs a gun for their self worth are just one instance away from being on the evening news as the murderer of another human being. But in their gross ignorance they don't care. They WANT an altercation so they can pull out their guns and begin firing wildly because they don't have the brains, reasoning ability and rational adult abilities to resolve issues in a sane and non-violent manner. Infantile conservative gun addicts and the corrupt NRA are responsible for every gun death and the blood of every victim is on their hands. But they don't care because they don't have the aptitude or the common sense to act like responsible adults.
@SanityRWersAreAgainst Luke 22:36, But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; If you do not have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
I personally do not own a gun! But remember this GUNS DON"T KILL PEOPLE! PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE! We live in a cruel, crazy society. Do you acutally think gun control would every be passed? It will never happen. There would be a another revolutionary war! Think about it
@SanityRWersAreAgainst are you psychologically impaired? seems it.
Because it would have been totally impossible for a 6-2, 230 pound NFL player to kill his girlfriend without the assistance of a firearm. If he was mad enough to shoot her 9 times, he was mad enough to choke or stab her.
@JohnKline A lot of deflection going on. Easy to stand on the NFL soap box and throw out gun control. Anything to get away from the animal that DID the deed. How about roid rage! This guy has been trained to react as aggressively as physically possible all his life. And has had as much chemical assistance as could be injected into his body as possible. The gun could have been a knife, bat, car, or a 2x4. But it is the easy way out for people like Costas to send the blame down the road. How about an instant player ban on anyone that tests positive to steroid use by Friday 12/7/12. Costas would be unemployed!
Sorry, you are wrong. If not on a broadcast of mass appeal such as Sunday Night Football on a major network, then where? On a little watched public affairs show on Sunday morning? The fact that the reality of violent murder and subsequent suicide collided head-on with NFL football gives Costas the ideal sounding board to express his opinions, and apparently with NBC's blessing. America, you have a gun problem, and it shouldn't have to take a sports guy to point that out!