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:
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted support of Costas:
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?