NBC sportscaster Bob Costas got unexpectedly political during America’s favorite pastime.
Following Saturday’s murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, Costas used his halftime segment on ‘Sunday Night Football’ to advocate for gun control, and his comments caused an immediate stir on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
In a segment about 90 seconds long, the 60-year-old Queens, New York, native paraphrased and quoted from a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, formerly of the Kansas City Star.
Costas praised the emotive column and told his viewers, ‘In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe.
On Saturday, December 1, Belcher, 25, shot and killed his wife Perkins, 22, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter.
Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, his team’s home stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and shot himself in the parking lot of its practice facility.
Family and friends said the two had endured a ‘strained relationship’ that got worse after the birth of their daughter.
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself on Saturday morning
The online reaction to Costas’ remarks came fast, with many viewers criticizing the sportscaster for voicing his personal and political opinions on a program meant for entertainment.
‘The Media Left at Halftime: Bob Costas pushing gun control, quoting…who else?..a sports writer on ridding the country of the 2nd Amendment,’ wrote television host Lou Dobbs, who uses the Twitter handle @loudobbsnews
‘Bob Costas, who’s gotten rich thanks in part to a sport that destroys men’s bodies and brains, gives us a little civics lecture,’ wrote Fox commentator Andrew Levy, who uses the Twitter handle @andylevy
‘Yes, Bob Costas, guns are the problem. Nicole Brown Simpson would be alive today if OJ hadn’t shot her with that knife,’ wrote Twitter user @ToddKincanno
‘NRA gonna’ be PISSSED at Bob Costas,’ wrote Twitter user @JeremyStahl
Judging from about 100 tweets, more than 95 per cent of those quickest to respond to Coastas’ remarks expressed annoyance and outright disagreement, with only a few in favor.
National Post sports columnist Bruce Arthur, who uses the Twitter handle @bruce_arthur, was one of the few on the micro-blogging site to agree with the remarks.
‘Bob Costas just quoted Jason Whitlock, and the whole thing made perfect sense,’ he wrote.
Costas has been on the air for NBC Sports television since the early 1980s.