In Wake of NFL Murder-Suicide, Media Aim Sights on Guns (Updated)
Bob Costas addresses gun violence in ‘Sunday Night Football’ halftime comments (Yahoo! Sports)
In the wake of Saturday's horrifying tragedies at Kansas City, you knew the pundits would get their laptops rolling. The first wave involved the decision to play the game; some said it was a terrible idea, while others advocated it as a proper method of healing. Once the game was in the books, talk turned to Bigger Issues, as in How Could This Happen? Concussions and head injuries will come under the microscope, as will the NFL's approaches to counseling depression. Sunday night, NBC commentator Bob Costas, echoing a column by Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock, took on another aspect of the tragedy: gun violence.
Costas quoted with approval from Whitlock's column, which states, in part:
Our current gun culture simply 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.
In the coming days, Belcher's actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn't possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
That is the message I wish Chiefs players, professional athletes and all of us would focus on Sunday and moving forward. 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.
Gun control is, of course, a controversial issue, with such rabid belief on both sides that even politicians tend to steer clear of it. And politics are so laden with potential conflict that most sports commentators give anything remotely political a wide berth, as well. So when you've got gun control and politics jammed right in the middle of your football game, well, you can see how that might get a few people a touch upset. Social media and comment sections across the Internet boiled over on Sunday night with vitriol both against Costas for his views, and against NBC for permitting any kind of political commentary on its broadcast.