Tragedy struck the NFL on Saturday when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher committed a murder-suicide, taking the life of his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and orphaning the couple’s three-month-old daughter.
As could be expected, the event was a hot topic of discussion the next day on Sunday Night Football. However, sportscaster Bob Costas created quite a stir when his halftime segment addressed the divisive issue of gun control and its role in the tragedy. Though Costas’ oration was largely a quotation from Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, some felt that he took advantage of his journalistic platform as a soapbox to advocate for stronger gun laws.
The 90-second clip of Costas’ monologue went viral on YouTube and in blog posts. Comments flew quickly from proponents on both sides of issue, with some praising the journalist for his open support and others demanding that he be fired from NBC.
Tuesday, Costas appeared on The Dan Patrick Show to address the controversy. In the interview, Costas said it was a “mistake” to bring up gun control and that his choice of words left too much open for interpretation. Yet, he also noted that he doesn’t believe he hijacked the NFL platform to provide personal thoughts.
Most interesting in the whole development is the irony of Costas, who is well-known for delivering the news and conducting in-depth interviews, finding himself in the spotlight of media scrutiny. Sadly, the controversy surrounding his comments has nearly overshadowed the Belcher tragedy which prompted them in the first place.
Journalists possess a great deal of power in reporting the news, but they also hold an immense amount of responsibility. Bob Costas has learned firsthand the repercussions that can follow when a journalist becomes part of the story rather than just reporting on it.