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Too Much For Sunday Night Football? Conservatives Critique Bob Costas's Gun Control Speech

Costas talks gun control after Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide this weekend.
 
 
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On Sunday, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas used his halftime segment to speak about gun control following Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide. On Saturday, Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, fatally shot his girlfriend, and then drove to the Chief’s stadium, thanked his coaches, and shot himself in front of them.

Costas said that this tragedy generated an opportunity to offer perspective. He then praised a powerful commentary by Jason Whitlock who questioned why the Chiefs took a business-as-usual approach and played their game on Sunday.

Costas said:

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 their possible connections 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.”

Watch the full video here:

The Associated Press noted that soon after Costas’ remarks, there was a “swift” online reaction, with “many people criticizing the broadcaster for expressing his personal views on a program meant for entertainment.”

Conservatives were especially furious at Costas.

Herman Cain tweeted:

Former South Carolina GOP executive director Todd Kincannon tweeted:

2008 Romney staffer Ted Newton tweeted:

Fox & Friends also took issue with Costas this morning. Co-host Brian Kilmeade said:

I just don’t know if it’s appropriate enough on a Sunday night, less than 24 hours after this guy took his own life and killed his girlfriend and the mother of his baby, to make that stance. … I don’t think we needed to hear that last night.

I guess Kilmeade doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable during the comforts of Sunday Night Football. But as Belcher's murder-suicide shows, football isn't insulated from the harsh realities of life. Sometimes, it is when we least expect things to become political that we get the biggest wake up call, and that may make people feel a little bit uncomfortable. But this type of discomfort can help people to really begin questioning the laws around objects that have a sole purpose of causing harm. 

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. 

 
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