Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Costas Commentary Causes Controversy


From Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Fox Sports
Jovan Belcher, a starting linebacker for the Chiefs, murdered the mother of his child shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday. He hopped in his car, drove to the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility, thanked Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli — and shot himself in the head in front of his coach and general manager around 8:10 a.m.

Within two hours, the NFL instructed the Carolina Panthers to travel to Kansas City as scheduled in preparation for Sunday’s noon kickoff. By 3 p.m., the Chiefs announced that Crennel and team captains had decided to play Sunday’s game as planned.

Short of terrorist attack and weather disaster, nothing slows the NFL.

A 25-year-old kid gunned down his 22-year-old girlfriend in front of his mother and three-month-old child, and all he could think to do in the immediate aftermath is rush to thank his football coach and football employer. Belcher’s last moments on this earth weren’t spent thanking the mother who raised him or apologizing to the child he would orphan. His final words of gratitude and perhaps remorse were reserved for his football gods.

It should come as no surprise that Crennel, Chiefs players, Pioli, owner Clark Hunt and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell quickly agreed not to delay Sunday’s football congregation at Arrowhead Stadium.

Football is our God. 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.

. . . You may argue that we all grieve differently. You may argue that playing the game is the best way to move on and heal. You may argue that canceling or delaying the game would serve no purpose and would be unfair to the fans who traveled to Kansas City to see Cam Newton and the Panthers play the Chiefs.

I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.

How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?

(continued in Costas Transcript below)


Bob Costas Transcript
BOB COSTAS: Well, you knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clich├ęs 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, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. 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 connection 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."

People turned on NBC to watch a football game last night. They didn’t tune in to listen to Bob Costas in a way make excuses for a murderer, whining about his social agenda of gun bans in the middle of a football game, and that’s why he’s getting the reaction that he’s getting.
~ National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre to ABC News

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.
~ Fox and Friends Brian Kilmeade

Trust me, in domestic violence situations, if people want to hurt somebody, they are going to use whatever they have at that particular moment.
~ Gretchen Carlson on Fox and Friends

So, you can't talk about guns at all? That's what I'm gathering listening to this segment. Yes, Gretchen, he could have stabbed her, but chances are he wouldn't have driven to Arrowhead Stadium and then stabbed himself. As the reporter Costas reference stated, guns make it far easier to commit sudden acts of anger - be it shooting your girlfriend multiple times, or killing a kid who had his stereo on too loud. Fox News - proving again the words "intelligent debate" have no place in their programming.
~ comment by PastyJournalist on Media Matters

If you said black Americans shouldn’t be allowed to vote, you would be disciplined or fired tomorrow or later on this afternoon. It’s an outrageous thing for to him to do . . . Costas doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
~ Lars Larson on Fox News

There are so many things wrong with what (Lars Larson) just said. He shouldn’t be fired for expressing an opinion. The idea that we live in a society that we can’t express an opinion because of people’s sensibility? And I never heard a ‘rant.’ I just heard a person giving his opinion, which i think is acceptable. Bob Costas has been around a long time. He’s very respected. The idea that he would be fired over expressing an opinion over a tragedy is shocking. I’m not an anti-gun person. I grew with guns. … The idea that you want reasonable limitations and controls on guns is not taking away anybody’s civil rights. And he’s correct if a gun hadn’t been involved … the odds are higher he would be alive.
~ Liberal Kirsten Powers responding to Lars Larson on Fox News

When, then, is the appropriate time to talk about gun violence?
. . . It wasn’t during presidential debates. It wasn’t after Trayvon Martin was killed for wearing a hoodie, after Jared Lee Loughner shot a member of Congress in the head, after the Dark Knight Rises theater shooting, or after the latest murderous weekend in one of our nation’s biggest cities. So if those weren’t the right times, and this isn’t either, when? Which high-profile murder, suicide, or mass killing will be the one that gets us to talk?
~ Travis Waldron on Think Progress

Great minds such as Sophocles and William Shakespeare promoted the metaphoric phrase, "Don't shoot the messenger," but on December 2, 2012, it became clear that the messenger overstepped his duty.
. . . I believe it's safe to say, that of the 18 million viewers tuned in on Sunday night, less than 10% expected to hear Costas' take on gun control. Viewers tuned in to watch football and were instead given a lecture. Information and debate are great for society, but force-fed political commentary in an unexpected atmosphere is not the status quo. If a viewer wanted to hear a debate about the second amendment, that viewer would have been tuned in to a different network. Simply put, it was inappropriate for Costas to deliver his personal, political message in that setting. Costas is a sportscaster first and foremost, and if he wanted to give his take, he should delivered it in a more appropriate setting, such as on NBC's sister network, MSNBC.
~ Tim White on Opposing Views

Excuse me, Bob Costas, but you're an idiot, so shut up
. . . This about as idiotic a span of a minute and 32 seconds as you're ever going to hear. Bob Costas has a real gift when it comes to talking about sports, especially baseball. When it comes to talking about culture and public policy, he reveals himself to be an utter buffoon who just needs to shut his mouth and spare the rest of us the torment of listening to his ill-informed, intellectually vacuous dreck.
Shut up, Bob.
~ Dan Calabrese on CainTV

One of the last politics-free zones in America was intruded upon yesterday--and why should anyone be surprised that NBC was the culprit? After the horrific tragedy of Kansas City Chief's linebacker Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, NBC sports analyst Bob Costas felt justified in launching into a cliche-ridden anti-gun commentary.
. . . The most absurd note of all was Whitlock's speculation, repeated by Costas, that "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and his Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today." Apparently Costas and Whitlock believe that Belcher was not strong enough to choke her or stab her to carry out his evil deed. Blaming the "gun culture" is a convenient refuge.
. . . "Something like this puts it all in perspective," Costas intoned, looking into the camera. Our perspective is our own, Bob, and is frankly none of your business. Sports bring Americans together of all political stripes. Costas and NBC managed to offend and annoy millions of law-abiding gun-owners in the U.S. last night. I'm not saying we should sack the anchor (or rush the gas-bag), but boy, the image is entertaining.
~ Laura Ingraham on her Blog

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