During halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, host Bob Costas gave a commentary on the tragic story of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher, who murdered Kasandra Perkins − his girlfriend and mother of their 3-month-old daughter, and later killing himself in front of Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, head coach Romeo Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.
Did Costas comment on how horrible it must have been for Pioli, Crennel, and Gibbs to witness this? Or debate whether or not the NFL should have cancelled the game?
None of the above. Instead, Costas spent 90 seconds giving a pro-gun control editorial, mentioning a column by Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports that echoed similar anti-gun sentiments. Costas ended the segment by saying:
“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. If Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.''
Look, this is America and Bob Costas has a right to say what he wants. But turning a tragic event into a sort of political rant was inappropriate and self-serving. If Costas wanted to go on a rant about something, how about the continuing problem of domestic violence among NFL players? Or the importance of mental health problems affecting players
such as Belcher and the late Junior Seau?
And am I the only one who thinks that Whitlock is becoming the latest version of ESPN’s Skip Balyiss – a journalist who just says/writes controversial things just so people notice and give him more exposure? You know, the “bad publicity is better than no publicity” types?
Apparently Costas is not one of them. He took Whitlock’s bait, gave him a free plug on national television, and is now the one facing all the criticism.
Look, I have opinions on gun control, along with other “hot button” issues. However, I don’t give them here, because my job is to talk about football. You should do the same, Bob. We watch the NFL so that we can have a temporary escape from life’s sobering realities. So let’s leave the political commentaries to “Meet the Press” and MSNBC.
In return, we promise not to talk about people having bad plastic surgery. Not mentioning any names...
Other quick-hit observations from Week 13:
- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is probably ready to put this season behind him. He’s struggled all season, has now inspired the term “buttfumble” (which has now been commemorated on one fan’s jersey), and was benched in favor of Greg McElroy, who led the team to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Sanchez was seen taking notices on the sideline during the game, which has now flooded the Internet with satires like this meme.
- But look on the bright side, Mark – at least you’re not continually costing your team games like Phillip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers. Watching the end of the Chargers 20-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it almost felt like you knew he would somehow not win the game. He’s almost become the anti-Eli Manning.
- Speaking of the New York Giants, nothing like yet another mediocre, uninspired performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday night. The Giants truly are the kid who writes their term paper the night before it’s due, and still manages to salvage a good grade.
- How many more people can ESPN cram into its Monday Night Countdown show? The picks segment alone takes close to five minutes to do.
- Kudos to my good friend Paul for pointing out that CBS's Phil Simms made a conscious effort not to say "football" too often during the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game.
- You know that the “Discount Double Check” commercials are overplayed when your kids think that B.J. Raji is a pitchman for State Farm before they realize that he pays for the Green Bay Packers.