NBC sportscaster Bob Costas has reignited the national gun control debate following comments he made during halftime of Sunday Night Football. There was a flurry of reaction on Twitter and news programs, which included debate of whether or not Costas should be fired.
During his halftime commentary on Sunday, Costas quoted an article by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock written in reaction to a murder-suicide committed on Saturday by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-month old daughter, before driving to his team stadium and killing himself in the parking lot. On air, Costas said:
Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective.
"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."
Costas went on to further quote Whitlock, who wrote: "If Jovan Belcher didn't posses a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain reacted on Twitter, writing: "You tune in for a football game and end up listening to Bob Costas spewing sanctimonious dreck."
Fox's Brian Kilmeade said it was inappropriate to discuss guns publicly so closely following a nationally publicized gun incident:
I just don't know if it's appropriate enough on a Sunday night, less than 24 hours after the guy took his own life and killed his girlfriend, the mother of his baby, to make that stance.
Monday night a spokesman said Costas "feels an unfortunate leap was taken that he was advocating taking away Second Amendment rights. He was not." He said Costas is "in favor of people owning guns to hunt and carrying them in reasonably controlled circumstances."
In Huffington Post, Will Bunch wrote that Costas "broke the fundamental rule of American discourse" by talking about guns in such a forum as a football halftime show:
The funny—OK, not funny—thing is that there's victims of gun violence in the United States every day. This weekend, five people were murdered with guns in my hometown of Philadelphia—so is it too soon to talk about how gun laws and culture contributed to their death?
Or too late?
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