Bob Costas' cursory comments on gun control and the sad circumstance surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs football team have provoked controversy. The sports announcer said that Jovan Belcher, the linebacker who shot his girlfriend and himself Dec. 1, would still be "alive today" if he hadn't had a gun.
Bob Costas' gun control comments came during the halftime of Sunday Night Football, where he, as the dean of NBC Sports, makes a customary statement. He chose to address the recent tragedy and start the national conversation about gun control by quoting Kansas writer Jason Whitlock.
"'Our current gun culture,' Whitlock wrote, 'ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontation over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead," said Costas while staring into the camera intently. "'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.'"
"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,'" said the famous journalist.
The reaction from conservatives and gun advocates was immediate across social networks, with the hashtag #FireCostas becoming prevalent Monday and Tuesday.
"Bob Costas apparently doesn't approve of the second amendment," tweeted @anthropocon.
"Does Bob Costas know that people are murder everyday by means other than gunshots?" posted Jason Kelce on the microblogging service Twitter. "Removing guns will not stop psychos from killing people."
Even some with more moderate stances on the right to bear arms felt that Costas' comments weren't unexpected, his timing was.
"I will gladly debate Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas on gun control, BUT we tuned in for an NFL game! Ridiculous programming decision!" wrote John Kincade.
"What … is … Bob Costas … doing?" Will Brinson wrote during the sportscaster's rant.
Despite the controversy on both sides of the issue— some with more progressive stances have been calling for a gun control discussion after the tragedy— at least one person was in full support of Costas' statement.
"Thanks to Bob Costas and Sunday Night Football in America for supporting my Jovan Belcher column," wrote Jason Whitlock on Twitter. "Appreciate it."