Was Bob Costas’ Gun Rant Out of Line?

Traditionally, we’re not supposed to know the political affiliations of our mainstream news and sports commentators. For guys like NBC’s Bob Costas, taking a stand on a hot political issue is risky—to say the least.

It’s even more controversial when your rant is about gun control, in the wake of an NFL player killing his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, (the mother of his child) and then himself.

During halftime of the Cowboys-Eagles game on Sunday night, Costas said this, quoting Jason Whitlock:

“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 posses a gun, he and Cassandra Perkins [sic] would both be alive today.”

Twitter immediately exploded with intense proclamations about Costas’ statement. Famous and non-famous people alike sounded off. Not surprisingly, Ted Nugent, master hunter and avid gun proponent, joined in:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/TedNugent/status/275568280641605632″]

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted support of Costas:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/MikeBloomberg/status/275728682553864192″]

Today Costas told the New York Times’ Media Decoder that he is “emphatically not backing off” his statement.

But Mr. Costas says he has been given the freedom by NBC to editorialize on subjects related to football and sports — views that the network neither specifically endorses nor opposes. And he was convinced, he said in a telephone interview on Monday, that “it was likely that these two people would not be dead” if there hadn’t been a gun available that made it easy to take a life in a moment of anger.

What do you think of Bob Costas’ commentary during halftime? Do you agree with Ted Nugent that it’s the murderer who kills people, not the tool? Or are you with Jason Whitlock who insists that the availability of guns makes it just too easy—and fast—to kill someone?

How about the meme going around Facebook showing OJ Simpson with Costas, hinting at the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, which were committed with a knife? Do we too easily forget how brutal and quick those murders were?

Regardless of the gun control policy, should Costas be editorializing like this during a football game?


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  1. I decided to read your atrlcie based upon the title, yet I found very little about Bob Costas, his stance on the issue, and how your opinion differs. Bob Costas quoted Jason Whitlock. The quote was, If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today. Which to me, is a very true statement. Now, if you want to argue that guns don’t kill people, people kill people, then great. Make your argument. Take Costas or Whitlock to task. But you don’t do that. In fact, you don’t even state the Costas/Whitlock side of the issue. Anyone reading your atrlcie would have had to known their opinion prior to reading. The bottom line is this. Guns don’t kill people. I agree. But, people who possess guns have a hell of a lot easier of a time killing people. I don’t own a gun and have zero desire to every pick up a gun and fire it, which pretty much guarantees I will never kill someone with a gun. I own several knives, baseball bats and of course my own hands. Who is at a greater risk to kill someone, me or high profile football thug with a gun, or in this case SEVERAL GUNS. Costas’ point was that we are a society with too easy of access to guns, multiple guns and a generation that is desensitized (sp?) to the horrors of the impact of these weapons. I would like to think our society has evolved from the days of the wild wild west.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:
  3. joe sciarretta says:

    There are two VERY different issues here.

    First, I can relate to what was actually SAID. Because I know that if I had a gun, I would have been dead long ago. My wife might also be dead, but I would certainly be dead.

    Second… me making that comment has NOTHING to do with gun control or no gun control! Why would anyone immediately trace the comment that was made to a statement about gun control laws?

    Too many people think they can immediately “fix” something by passing a law.

    I’m alive thanks to the fact that I don’t have a gun, but I sure don’t make the stupid leap to thinking that it’s a gun control law issue.

  4. As the news stories continue to flood my Yahoo and Google Alerts about the recent murder-suicide in Kansas City, three things trouble me about the stories. First, the name of Jovan Belcher comes up over and over in headlines and sub-headings but Kasandra Perkins’ life and background is rarely mentioned. Second, NFL experts and others are trying to focus on head trauma and concussive injuries as a likely cause instead of the domestic violence and the actions of an abusive man that form the true foundation of this tragedy. Third, this one murder-suicide is getting tremendous coverage when the many other women, men, and children dying each day in the United States from domestic violence do not merit any national media attention.


  5. Richard Aubrey says:


    Unfortunately, after banning guns didn’t do any good in the UK, they’re banning certain knives. That doesn’t do any good, either, but it does two other things. The ‘crats can piss off the citizenry with impunity (always good, clean, giggling fun) and since it does no good, clearly even more intrusion is justified.

    • John Smith says:

      Take a look at murder and gun violence in the UK compared to the US and then tell me it has no effect. They two may not be related, but without further evidence you cannot say it has no effect. In my opinion (as a gun owner myself) the US is miss-guided in its attitude to guns and its shouting down of any rational debate. Do I think we have gone to far in the UK? Yes. However I also thing the US is to far the other way.

      • Me dear John Smith – where are the masses clamouring in the UK for the latest automatic?

        When we have Chavs lined up at Burberry demanding their Ruger SR9 Pistol or Glock 31 in this seasons colours – and the clip in classic under stated Burberry checks – then maybe things will change. Some go for glitz, but most do prefer a more subtle image.

        So Until the Chavs are revolting in action and not just in nature I’m sure that so many will simply be happy to have safer streets, less fear and better statistics.

      • AnonymousDog says:

        Britain had lower incidence of violent crime compared to the US even back when both countries had only minimal gun laws.

    • Richard – I get it that you are having a bad time right now. But – Under UK Law since Victorian times gun ownership has been controlled by licensing. To have a gun you had to show a need, such as Game Keeper, Slaughterman etc. Sporting usage was also included. There simply has not been a promotion of mass gun ownership – and it’s not been seen as a need. It has been pushed with those who emigrated to places such as Africa, Australia due to supposed big wild and dangerous beasties – but it’s odd that emigration to Canada hasn’t resulted in mass gun ownership.

      There is am oddity in the USA. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution thing make dun ownership and identifier of being American – not mon’s Apple pie. Maybe after or so years of educting people with the idea that guns aint Kewel and aint a Requirement things may change.

      Until then annually in the USA you have a 3000% higher chance of being killed by gun than equivalent countries where Guns are just not Socially Accepter and made Kewel.

      Knife crime rates and mortality rates are also lower than the USA when indexed against population. Of course that is the correct way to compare else you make silly mistakes. I heard that if you have a heart condition the safest continent in Antarctica. It has the lowest number of Heart Attach deaths … isn’t that an amazing and Kewel Fatoid (Shine flash light in ear and see eyes light up)

      I have used this video clip many times to get people talking – I’m not sure what a Dodge Durango is but I do know words – and removing some to prove a point is not the way to go “Regulated and Militia are in the first sentence.”.

      A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      Now I know some will argue that you can’t do telepathy on dead folks, so it is impossible to read the minds and know what people were thinking when the sentence above got wrote – but you know, those guys knew words and how to use them. They were a bit expert in telling a king to, as it is colloquial put, “Go Stick It With A Barge Pole” and they were so polite and clear. So I do have wonder, why so many assume that, when that bit got written in 1780 something, the capacity to use and grasp defining and none defining retaliative clauses, and primary and subordinate clauses, had changed, and people speaking and writing seemed to have got dumber?

      I also have to wonder did the encroaching dumbness also affect math – cos the constitution thing does not cover stats and their illogical usage as loaded weapons that go off like damp squibs.

      Oh that it said well regulated math lessons for all!

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        Among other things, the point isn’t the level of gun violence, it’s the change, up or down, which is the key.
        After predDunblaine–did anybody ever find out what happened to let that nutcase get a gun? something between him and the cops, I think–the legal ownership of guns was made hugely more difficult. As usual, the illegal ownership was not affected.
        Good, lengthy article in Atlantic about this issue.
        The UK has approx four times the hot burglaries–the homeowner at home–than does the US. There has been a drop in crime, esp. gun crime wherever CCW has been liberalized. The opponents of the process predicted blood in the streets. They’re reduced to claiming there has to be some other reason for the reductions in crime.
        As to education, read the McGuffey Reader and weep.

        • Richard – Dunblaine was terrible and there has been most serious an investigation of all the events and how they happened. Of course those who love conspiracy theories hate the prosaic.

          The Prosaic is called human error – and when you have multiple errors cascading you have one of those For want of a nail and wars being lost scenarios.

          So a human is designing a computer system and the interface specification is not explicitly clear – they code and certain data is not caught – and from there you end up with a Fire arm that should be controlled left in the hands of a person who should not have it.

          Then you have interesting things such as a group in looking at scenarios deciding what are the best tactics and the best way to go. Then all hell break’s out, people follow the procedures laid down, and they don’t work due to a combination of geography – radios that go dead in certain locations – roads being blocked by Road Works – and people in charge on remote not having all the necessary information to make decisions.

          Of course this even happened before such things as Farcebook – Twitter – and even supposed modern camera phones and status updates – so you are comparing not apples with oranges – but Neanderthal with supposed evolved humans.

          I get it that you are unhappy and I even get it that you object to people using other people’s negative experiences to make political capital. So I do have to wonder why you would be using a supposed Rhetorical Tactic you object to?

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            You don’t get as much as you think you do.
            The problem with Dunblaine is that the shooter wasn’t supposed to have a gun in the first place, but he did. How that happened might have been figured out eventually, but as of a year afterwards it was a matter of nobodyknowsnothingaroundhere.
            The further point is that almost without exception, mass shooters shouldn’t have had the guns in the first place, nor should the urban shooters of one or two at a time. They shouldn’t have illegal drugs, either. But, in both cases, they do.
            In the VA Tech shooting, one of the victims was thought, by his position and the wounds, to have been trying to rush the shooter. He was a ROTC guy, thus a Neanderthal in some people’s view, but, fortunately he wasn’t armed or somebody might have been hurt.
            So how’s that knife ban thing working out?

            • Richard – you are arguing a single event as if it is all of reality. You should know better than that.

              • Richard Aubrey says:

                Wrong. I’m using one place, Dunblaine, to demonstrate that it is practically all of reality. Here, there, pretty much everywhere. The mass shooters are generally not supposed to have guns. It’s already illegal in their situations. They go into gun-free zones (shoot here, nobody will shoot back zones), which is illegal. They kill people, which is illegal.
                Passing a law won’t stop them. And guns, not being consumables as drugs are, requiring a permanent supply chain which can be detected and interrupted, can’t be stopped.
                It will, however, disarm law-abiding citizens. Legal gun owners commit fewer crimes than cops,, than legislators, and more than cloistered nuns.

      • AnonymousDog says:

        UK gun laws only required licensing after 1920s. The general thrust of British gun laws after that was to make it harder for ‘working class’ people to own guns as compared to the upper classes. Game keepers tended to be in the employ of the aristocracy.

        • Blooming Toffs – they will do anything to be in charge and keep good men down! That Patriarch gets everywhere – Pure Marxism!

          The Toffs were so conniving then even prevented a revolution so we proles built the walls and they didn’t come. Double whammy – avoid revolution and keep guns under control just in case! It’s been the biggest conspiracy ever – and then we get Lord Snooty himself – David Cameron. P^)

  6. wellokaythen says:

    He has a right to editorialize in his job if that’s what he’s being paid for and that’s the job description. And, he’s entitled to his opinion same as anyone else. I sympathize with Costas on this and probably share his political outlook about gun control.

    But in terms of accuracy or logic, his remark is deeply flawed. Sure, the gun made it easier for him to kill his girlfriend and himself than just about any other method available, but it was not the only option in the world. Obviously, domestic violence and suicide do not require firearms. They don’t even require weapons.

    He was no danger to himself or anyone else without a gun? Gimme a break. Consider the player’s physical strength and mental state and ask if the gun was the key ingredient. Sure, keep a gun out of his hands and he would have had to use something even more personal and intimate. I don’t imagine any editorials suggesting that “without a kitchen knife they would both be alive today.”

    This does rightly raise the question of gun control, but this looks to me like an even bigger question of mental health and relationship violence. (Maybe an issue about the effects of concussions among football players?)

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    Crap. Context. Probably not in the right context. Trying to hard to be short.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Two questions. Context: Probably not.
    Authority: Does he know squatall about the subject. Probably not.
    So, wrong place and time and who is he that we should care what he thinks?

  9. AnonymousDog says:

    Would Costas’s opinions on US fiscal policy, tax rates, the Electoral College, the Affordable Care Act, or decriminalization of cannabis be regarded as out of place if expressed by him in a similar context?

  10. Wrong Costas – Wrong Wrong Wrong!

    Mr Costas was wrong when he stated that two people would not be dead if one of them had not owned a gun. He does not have Crystal balls and he can’t say that. However, the sentiment that prompted him to say it is actually spot on.

    It’s odd when you talk to people who train other folks to use guns. People are wary at first, even the least enthusiastic and then they get this power thing going when the trigger gets pulled.

    Even more interesting is to consider what people would use to kill if the gun was gone. There are not many ways to kill from a distance. You can throw things – but to be successful you have to get close and that means clubbing and stabbing.

    Now you ask the guys who teach Clubbing and Stabbing. They will tell you just how hard it is to get people doing it – that up close and personal makes it very different.

    Many argue that guns don’t kill and like @Tednugent * above will say silly things like “Blaming guns for crime is like blaming helmuts for headbutts. WTF Costas! Uve lost it.”

    Well Mr Nugent – you may like to consider an interesting fact – more people die in countries with guns that without. That is not die from Guns – it is PERIOD, because guns don’t just raise bullets but perceptions of power for people carrying guns – and that gets manifested in driving behaviour – work place behaviour – on the street behaviour and so many other places too.

    It also promotes views of power and invincibility which promote danger and risk promoting behaviours.

    So I say Go For It Costas – Go Costas – Go, GO, GO!

    * I have no idea who @TedNugent is and given his comment I didn’t even care enough to google or even click on a link – he can remain a mystery and what would appear to be a Red Neck Idiot with no Brains and a Fixation for things he can hold in his hand and have go off !! As I said I have no idea – but if the assessment is remotely close it would be amusing to get feedback! I don’t do Stereotypes, but once in a while they can be a relief.

  11. I think the very fact that you all are calling it a rant is ridiculous.

  12. Richard Aubrey says:

    Not sure your “seems” is correct. Some reports have women’s participation in buying guns and taking CCW courses spiking hugely.
    And see Alexthechick on Ace of Spades. Good response on why she should be allowed to have a gun–it’s kept her alive.

    • I guess I should have clarified that a bit more. I know that it’s not just white males purchasing guns, and I’m not saying it’s only white males that take issue when people start talking gun control. I guess what I wondered was why that particular group seemed to be the most vocal when it comes to the whole gun control issue. Anytime I’ve ever seen a discussion on this issue taking place in the media, I can’t recall ever seeing women or people of color really taking a hard stance against it.
      I don’t know, just my observation I could very well be wrong.

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        John. Perhaps it’s the same six guys who are spokespersons for the gun rights people. Usually the subject doesn’t arise on television unless a lib show wants to try to embarrass a 2d amendment type and it’s bad karma to do that to a woman or a person of color. And 2d amendment supporters are more likely to be conservatives, which means a higher percentage of them are white men.

  13. Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems that the one particular group that seems to get extremely outraged over any type of gun control discussion are white males. Obviously they aren’t the only group that owns or possess guns, but it seems that gun control seems to strike a cord with them much more than anyone else. Anyone have any incite as to why that is? This isn’t meant to be a slam against males. I’m just genuinely curious as to why it seems to affect them so deeply.

  14. ann matranga says:

    Never mind whether Costas should have spoken about gun control during the game. IMHO the game should have been cancelled in a time of grief.

  15. Richard Aubrey says:

    There used to be–may still be–a sports-oriented cartoon called “Tank McNamara”. Had a lot of interesting things to say about sports. In one thread, the cartoonist ran several sessions on a sports writer’s fantasy camp. At one point, he had one of the chumps looking up at an instructor and saying, “You know, this stuff isn’t very important.” “Bingo,” said the instructor.
    You can see this when a sports writer/commentator gets off sports and on to Something Important. They get profound, in the shallowest sense. Can’t wait to find something about which to be Serious.
    In addition, these jock-sniffers are forever going on about how powerful the athletes are. If true, and a sportswriter wouldn’t lie, then Belcher could have killed his girlfriend with a blow to the head using considerably less power than his maximum power. The temple–as the surgeon said in Billy Budd–is particularly fragile.

    Now, it takes somewhat more arranging to kill yourself if you don’t have a gun, but the point was Belcher’s girlfriend.

    Good response on Ace of Spades from a woman, Alexthechick. Claims Costas is misogynist. Hell, people throw that around all the time and in this case, it might actually be valid.

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