On the EDge: Costas draws fire from gun crowd

OPINION – Don’t mess with the gun crowd.

It doesn’t take much to get them all up in arms.

Bob Costas, a longtime sports announcer employed by NBC-TV, is currently in their sights for a comment he made on the heels of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.

Belcher shot his girlfriend to death Saturday, then drove to the Chiefs’ practice facility where he took his own life in front of team personnel.

The cops aren’t giving out a lot of information, but, quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter. Two people, who should be among us today, are gone.

During halftime of the Sunday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, Costas departed from the normal recaps and highlights of the day and spoke about the tragedy, quoting liberally from a piece written by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock.

“In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed,” Costas said as he wrapped up the segment. ”Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins (Belcher’s girlfriend) would both be alive today.”

The response was immediate as gun aficionados flooded the NBC switchboard with calls. It became a big deal in social media, with anti-Costas Tweets flying through cyberspace and the posting of a Facebook page demanding Costas immediately join the ranks of the unemployed.

OK, a couple of things first.

I have never been much of a Bob Costas fan. I think he is fairly overrated in most applications. He does good work with baseball coverage, but should stay away from anything to do with football or special events like the Olympics. He took a huge pratfall last summer with a lame, lackadaisical report from London, for example.

And while there is no debate that he is a very bright guy, his arrogant countenance and weak — make that very weak — sense of humor are not particularly endearing, at least to me.


Although I believe the Second Amendment is grossly misinterpreted, I do believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

Want a gun? Fine. Fill out the paperwork, allow the authorities to check your background, and if you have no history of violent crime or mental incapacity, pick up your weapon after a 7-day waiting period.

Would this eliminate violent crime? Of course not. There will always be people who can jump through the legal hoops who are willing to sell their legally purchased weapons on the black market. Would it have prevented what happened over the weekend in Kansas City? Maybe, maybe not. Belcher, according to initial reports, had legally purchased the gun. When and where he obtained the weapon have not been disclosed.

But, whether current gun laws are practical, enforceable, too strict or too soft, is a different topic because what’s at stake here is far greater than the Second Amendment. What is on the line here is our First Amendment rights.

Bob Costas may have some strong opinions that you disagree with, but does that mean his right to free speech should be abridged because those opinions are different from yours? If that is the case, what is the standard by which free speech should be judged?

I disagree with a lot of people, but I wouldn’t want them taken off the air just because we don’t see eye-to-eye. I’m no fan of Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Costas, and a host of others, but I would never kick them to the curb, even at their most egregious.

You know what you’re getting with these folks. You know they will always find a way to inject personal opinions and beliefs into the broadcast dialog, so why act surprised when it occurs?

There’s a button on your remote, a dial on your radio. If you don’t like what you see or hear, use them to change the channel.

The media has changed dramatically. It is almost impossible to find true objectivity because, well, to be honest, that’s not what people are looking for these days. They want those in the media to take sides so they can either boo or cheer. When an objective report hits, they are more ambivalent than appreciative. Fair and balanced? Forget about it. It’s boring. It’s dated. It’s passé in today’s media wars.

And, as nice as it would be to watch a football game without worrying about political overtones or personal opinions creeping, in the reality is that you could throw a penalty flag at least once during each game for unsportsmanlike broadcast.

No bad days!


Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • FBM December 6, 2012 at 9:17 am

    If you say something really stupid, then you should expect some backlash. Saying that if Belcher didn’t have a gun would have prevented this tragedy is complete BS. When some one wants to kill some one, they will find a way. Whether it’s with a knife, a bat, a car, or with their hands, they will kill that person if they get a chance. You don’t need a gun to kill some one. Chris Benoit, the wrestler, killed his entire family and didn’t use a gun.

    I’m not advocating for Costas to get fired, but at least now people know what to expect from him if they didn’t already know.

  • Alan Rumack December 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

    If Bob Costas wanted to hold a press conference and talk about how terrible he thought guns were, that is fine, assuming anyone would care what he thought. He should be fired for interjecting his opinions into a football show. No one tunes into sunday football to hear an error-filled and misinformed discourse about “gun culture”.

    Talk about banning guns or anything you want on your own time.

  • OpEd December 6, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    As much as I hate to admit it, since I’m not anything close to being called a fan of Ed Kociela’s; because anything he writes usually just flat out leaves me shaking my head, but this time I have to give him the nod of agreement.

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