Bob Costas Addresses "SNF" Gun Control Comments; Knew He Would "Catch Grief"
NBC’s Bob Costas this morning appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show” and discussed the halftime essay he delivered during Sunday night's Eagles-Cowboys game that touched on the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide and gun control. Costas said during the first quarter of the game, NBC Producer Sam Flood "told me exactly what it was we were going to do." The "Football Night In America" pregame show "concentrated only on the tragedy in Kansas City ... and then Sam told me that I would have about a minute and 15 seconds to address this in some way.” Costas said at that point, there had “been a day of reactions, some of them well thought out and some less so, on the various NFL programs. So I was thinking, ‘How can I come at this from a different angle?’" He said, “What I was trying to say was that if you want some perspective on this, there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about. The problem was that I didn't have enough time to get to many of them and … I left it open to too much misinterpretation.” He noted a "discussion should ensue within sports about the football culture, the gun culture, domestic violence ... issues that should be discussed if we're looking for some kind of elusive perspective after an event like this” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 12/4). In St. Louis, Joe Holleman reports Costas “knew he would catch grief from those who oppose stricter controls on firearm ownership.” Costas said, “I knew there would be a reaction to that, and I am not dismayed by that at all.” But he added that he “wasn’t necessarily calling for tighter gun controls and pointed out that he was highlighting a writer’s commentary on the country’s ‘gun culture'” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/4).
SPORTS NOT IMMUNE FROM WORLD PROBLEMS: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Costas years ago "figured his audience had the depth and capacity to handle opinions on issues not entirely sports-related," including those "touching the world of sports, which is comprised of everyday people." That is "totally lost on those now calling for Costas to be fired.” To call for his dismissal "by hiding behind the transparent argument that he should not have taken an advocacy stance during a football telecast is totally disingenuous.” Costas' critics would have “more credibility if they just came out and said Costas should be fired because he’s pro-gun control.” Raissman: “Would they rather have Costas try and bury the story like CBS’ ‘The NFL Today’ did?” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/4). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said, "Sometimes things happen, no matter whether they happen in entertainment or sports, that lead to serious conversation, and if people can’t respect difference of opinion around that conversation, then we’ve got another additional problem” (“PTI,” ESPN, 12/3). But the NATIONAL REVIEW's Rich Lowry writes Costas is “an extraordinary and justly acclaimed broadcaster, who apparently hasn't spared a moment’s reflection to the long-running argument over guns in our society” (NATIONALREVIEW.com, 12/4).