NBC’s Bob Costas on Monday appeared on Foxsports.com columnist Jason Whitlock‘s podcast, “Real Talk,” to explain why he advocated for gun control during the halftime show of the nationally televised Sunday night NFL game.
During the game, Costas quoted Whitlock’s editorial, which stated that former Kansas City chiefs player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend would still be alive if Jovan did not own a handgun. (RELATED: Chiefs player shoots girlfriend, then kills himself in front of coaches at Arrowhead Stadium)
“Had the incident not involved an NFL player, then no matter how important it may have been as a news item, it would not have been appropriate to bring it in there,” Costas said. “But that circumstance had been discussed, and in one way or another throughout the day on all the NFL programs and on our program.”
The NBC analyst said his remarks have been unfairly and hypocritically attacked by gun-rights advocates.
“And I’ve always found this to be true: If someone disagrees with what you write, then they’ll say what you wrote was a ‘screed,’” Costas continued. “But someone who agrees with it say it was a ‘thoughtful commentary.’ If they disagree with what you say on television, they’ll term it a ‘rant.’ … I guarantee you that many of the gun lobby folks who were outraged by what I said — if I had said, ‘It was a tragedy in Kansas City, but let’s not misunderstand. Only people commit murders and guns do not,’ then they would have stood up and applauded.”
Costas admitted that when the opportunity to make serious commentary during a sporting event arises, he sometimes chooses to speak out. For example, Costas said, he told viewers during last summer’s Olympic games that it was the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Olympics bombing — even though the International Olympic Committee had declined to show any reminder of the incident during the games.
NFL and NBC executives did not discipline or rebuke Costas in any way for his remarks during the Sunday NFL game, which were cleared in advance by the organizations, Costas told Whitlock.
Later in the podcast, both Whitlock and Costas spelled out their displeasure with the so-called “gun culture.” (RELATED AUDIO: Anti-gun sports columnist Whitlock says NRA is the ‘new KKK’)
“There are too many people in this country leaving home carrying a gun as if it’s the same thing as ‘don’t forget my wallet,’ ‘don’t forget my watch,’ ‘don’t forget my gun,'” Costas said. “And more often than not, this leads to bad things far more often than it leads to good things.”
“I think guns have a place in our society that’s completely inappropriate for young people,” Whitlock replied. “It’s been defined that having a gun is the cool thing, it’s the appropriate thing to have. And I’m talking about professional athletes. Too many of them are carrying guns, and they’re reflective of this macho male society that’s too pervasive throughout our country.”
Whitlock reminded listeners that former New York Giants standout wide receiver Plaxico Burress’s career came to an abrupt halt after he accidentally shot himself with his own gun in a New York City nightclub in 2009.
Costas implied sports athletes have never really needed to own firearms.
“I ask this question rhetorically: Can you give me an example, one example of a professional athlete — let’s confine it to sports — a professional athlete by virtue of having a gun was able to diffuse a potential violent or deadly situation? Was able to disarm someone who was doing innocent people harm?”