Costas: NBC Gun Control Comments Were a Mistake; Needed More Time

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 10:48 AM

By Michael Mullins

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After using NBC’s Sunday Night Football halftime show to express his concern with the nation’s gun laws, sportscaster Bob Costas responded to his critics on Tuesday, describing calls for his firing over the incident “beyond absurd.”

“This is simply a case of: some people don’t agree with it, or they don’t agree with what they think I was saying, and therefore, it would be okay if I was booted off the air … ‘yeah, let’s fire everybody we don’t agree with.’ It’s beyond absurd,” said Costas on the Dan Patrick Show.

Costas’ comments on Sunday involved the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Javon Belcher, 25, who killed himself and the mother of his three-month-old child, Kasandra Perkins, 22.

Costas paraphrased a column written by controversial sports reporter Jason Whitlock, saying, “Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy . . . 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.”

Though he would not walk back his commentary, Costas did acknowledge it was a “mistake” during Tuesday’s interview, saying, “My mistake is I left it open for too much communication . . . A friend of mine in broadcasting pointed this out to me yesterday, and I agree with him. He said, ‘you violated your own rule.’ Because we have had this discussion before. I’ve always said, if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics, make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out…or save them for forums where you do. In this particular situation, the timeliness of it was, if you’re going to comment on it at all, it had to be this Sunday.”

According to Costas, the amount of time he was given, just over one minute, was not adequate to discuss the situation.

Costas also said that in addition to the outrage, he received “tremendously positive” feedback from many of his colleagues and from some in the public. As for the “considerable backlash” from others? Costas described that as being orchestrated, blaming the criticism on “gun lobbies and what they perceived I was saying.”

To clarify his position on gun rights, Costas said, “I do not want to see the Second Amendment repealed. I don’t want to see a prohibition on people owning guns. People should be able to own guns for their own protection. Obviously, those who are hunters, but there’s a proliferation of guns in this country.”

“The access to guns is too easy in some cases. I don’t see any reason why a citizen should be able to arm himself, as they can in some states and in  some cases, arm himself in ways that only the police or the military should able to — to have a virtual militia purchased by mail order or purchased at gun shows,” Costas continued. “Why do you need a semi-automatic weapon? What possible use is there for a citizen to have a semi-automatic weapon?”

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