Costas Rant Inspired by Jason Whitlock Column on Gun Control, Javon Belcher

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 07:16 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Columnist Jason Whitlock’s controversial piece on the murder-suicide of the NFL’s Jovan Belcher and its relation to gun control isn’t the first time he has thrown gasoline on a fire.

In his Dec. 1 column on Belcher, Whitlock criticized the football league’s reaction to his death and what Whitlock calls America’s “gun culture.” Parts of Whitlock’s commentary were picked up by sportscaster Bob Costas and repeated to a national audience during NBC’s Sunday Night Football half-time show during Costas' gun control rant.

A former all-state college offensive lineman turned sports journalist, Whitlock, 45, is currently a writer for and a former columnist for the Kansas City Star, as well as a contributor to ESPN and AOL Sports among other sites.

During his commentary, Costas advocated for further gun control, paraphrasing parts of Whitlock’s column:

“Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead . . . 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 . . . What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

Costas’ remarks sparked outrage from Second Amendment gun rights advocates who criticized him for using his position to make a political statement about gun control.

Afterwards, Whitlock doubled down on his anti-gun remarks during a podcast by CNN contributor Roland Martin.

“You know, I did not go as far as I’d like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America’s gun culture — I believe the NRA is the new KKK,” said Whitlock. “And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests [at heart].”

Whitlock seems to relish national attention for controversial comments.

In February, during a New York Knicks basketball victory in which the team’s then-star point guard, Jeremy Lin, scored a career-high 38 points, Whitlock posted to Twitter, “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight.”

After the Asian American Journalists Association demanded an apology, Whitlock said via Fox Sport’s website, “The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.”

Another Whitlock controversy occurred in the June 2008 issue of Playboy magazine in which he criticized the nation’s prion system and its drug-war policies. The article was labeled “The Black KKK: Thug life is killing black America. It's time to do something about it.”

Whitlock later criticized Playboy editors for the title and the way the article was presented in the magazine.

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