Bob Costas, NBC Turns Belcher Tragedy into Political Fodder
UPDATE: Bob Costas appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and called his commentary on Blecher's murder-suicide a "mistake." Listen to the interview here.
Bob Costas and NBC turned a tragic story into political fodder.
Just a day after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's apparent murder-suicide, the Costas, a studio analyst, discussed his opinions on gun control during his halftime commentary at the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles game.
There's plenty of heated feelings on both sides of the Second Amendment debate, and Costas is entitled to his opinion. But is Sunday Night Football really the appropriate forum for a soapbox rant?
Here's a portion of his remarks, which cites Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock:
"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.'"
The Associated Press noted that the online community wasted no time in criticizing the broadcaster for using the sports forum for his personal views.
#FireCostas tweets also caught fire, with some noting that ESPN "parted ways" with Hank Williams, Jr. after the Monday Night Football commentator said the following on "FOX and Friends" in response to last year's "Golf Summit" with the president, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, and Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich:
"Come on. Come on. It would be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu."
Conservatives dug in.
I think Bob Costas owes America an apology. And I think he should be fired from Sunday Night Football.
Others supported Costas for his remarks, including the Center for American Progress.
Perhaps, Costas missed the political circus of the presidential election, during which gun rights came up just once, at the Hofstra debate.
But it seems most just wanted to watch the game -- politics free.
One voice in the sports world did lend some heart and eloquence yesterday in light of the senseless tragedy.
During his post-game comments, Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn offered a few loving, compassionate words in tribute to his teammate that speaks to us all:
"We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that's fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis."
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).
Follow me @erica_holloway.
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