NBC sportscaster Bob Costas used his regular halftime segment Sunday night to speak out in favor of gun control in the wake of the murder-suicide incident involving a professional football player.
“You knew it was coming,” said Costas, who is perhaps best known for anchoring the network’s coverage of the past few Olympic Games. “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.”
The broadcaster’s commentary came just over 24 hours after Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at the couple’s home before driving to his team’s practice facility and killing himself in front of Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager John Pioli.
“Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective,” Costas said, before citing a piece by Fox Sports.com columnist Jason Whitlock criticizing National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing the Chiefs’ game with Carolina to proceed as scheduled.
“Football is our God,” Whitlock wrote. “Its exaggerated value in our society has never been more evident than Saturday morning in my adopted hometown. There’s just no way this game should be played.”
According to The Kansas City Star, several players defended the decision after the game.
“The least-worst option was to play the game,” center Ryan Lilja said. “Suffering a tragedy like that, maybe the best thing was to be together and do what we do — and that’s what we do, we play football.”
But in his column, Whitlock — who Costas said he does not always agree with — said such reasoning spoke to how numb Americans had become to gun-related violence, and that he believed that if Belcher did not own a gun, he and Perkins would still be alive.
“Handguns do not enhance our safety,” Whitlock wrote. “They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.”
Watch Costas’ commentary, as aired Sunday on NBC, below.