Don't blame guns for Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide

By using guns as a scapegoat, Bob Costas wrongly absolves the NFL of the need to examine the dangerous effects of its violent game

Edward Morrissey

Those who watched the Dallas Cowboys eke out a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday evening got a special treat from NBC during the halftime show. Along with recapping the football games from earlier in the day, analyst Bob Costas decided to spend 90 seconds discussing the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, in which he shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month-old daughter, before going to Arrowhead Stadium and turning the gun on himself — in front of his coach and GM, who desperately tried to talk Belcher out of it. Instead of covering the story, though, Costas delivered an editorial about gun control and his opposition to the Second Amendment that ironically unfolded while "God Bless America" played behind him.

Without irony, Costas derided the spouting of tired bromides in the wake of tragedy: "In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again: 'Something like this really puts it all in perspective.'" Costas then quoted from a column written by Jason Whitlock in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, demanding that viewers keep perspective on the shooting by blaming the gun. "[I]f Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun," Costas assured his audience, "he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

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