In some kind of strange crossover special along the lines of The Jetsons Meet The Flinstones, Bob Costas because the topic of the day on the cable news networks yesterday. If you turned it on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News, you were more than likely going to find a conversation about Bob Costas and/or gun control. You can probably imagine which networks and cable news personalities fell on which side of the fence in looking at Costas' gun control essay.
Costas himself has continued to speak out and expand upon his comments from Sunday Night Football, which were basically a re-telling of Jason Whitlock's Fox Sports column on the matter. In terms of respectability, Costas and Whitlock are on two different planets, but it's just one once-in-a-lifetime subplot to this developing story to see their names linked so closely. Whitlock himself became a discussion point yesterday as he chose to use his newfound notoriety to make the Whitlockian argument that the NRA is the new KKK.
Costas has spoke to the New York Times standing by his commentary and appeared on MSNBC last night to further clarify the remarks. In addition, he had an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show yesterday morning, which is worth the full listen if you're interested in this story. Costas takes you behind the scenes on how and why he said what he did Sunday night, the intense reaction to his essay, and what he would do differently…
There are a number of interesting takeaways from Costas' public appearances since SNF, especially how the time factor affected what he could say and the context he couldn't add in those 90 seconds at halftime of the SNF game. Therein lies my fundamental issue with Costas' essay from Sunday night. Saying "If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today" and ending his essay with that quote from Jason Whitlock left no room for the context Costas desired in retrospect. And really, it's impossible to deliver that needed context and clarification in 90 seconds, especially when you're mostly quoting someone else's work. (And honestly, I've always found Costas' essays to be superfluous to the SNF broadcast because it has always seemed to be just a way to give him 90 seconds of lecture time on the topic of the day, forgetting the events of this past week.)
Lifting the one issue of the gun culture out of such a complex story that involves a murder-suicide, domestic violence, football, gun violence, and leaving an orphaned daughter behind is just asking for that particular essay to become bulletin board material and debate fodder and controversy. Costas' comments to Patrick about opening up those other avenues of conversation is hopefully where the story goes in the coming days and weeks, once the partisan ideologues have time to go back to their respective corners. Costas is one of the most respected voices in sports and broadcasting and is certainly someone who can lead that conversation. As hard as it is to believe in the wake of his SNF commentary, sportscaster Bob Costas does not want to take away all your guns. Once the hysteria settles down, there is still constructive conversation that needs to take place.