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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Sports commentator Bob Costas voiced his opinion on gun violence in the aftermath of Belcher's murder-suicide. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Sports commentators weigh in on guns, violence


Sunday afternoons are meant for football. If you don't watch an NFL game each week, then you are not a part of the largest viewing audience.

This past weekend, the sports talk tilted political after news emerged of a deadly domestic incident involving an NFL player.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher allegedly shot Kasandra Perkins, the mother of his 3-year-old child. Later he shot and killed himself in front of the team's GM and a coach.

On Sunday night, Bob Costas offered a monologue on the news during "Sunday Night Football" on NBC. The commentator referenced a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock. Whitlock wrote that, "If Javon Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Costas, in his response, said he agreed with Whitlock, who "said it so well."

Other commentators on other networks also had their say. However, they appeared to work around the swelling debate that dominated airtime on Monday.

"To see something so tragic, so sudden, so unexpected. How do you deal with that? There is no playbook. There is no itinerary to tell you how to cope with this and move forward. I believe the Kansas City Chiefs will play very emotional today. I believe they'll play this game with this young man in their mind and in their hearts. I believe they will do something they haven't done in quite a while. I believe they win this ballgame," former player Shannon Sharpe said.

Commentator James Brown with CBS Sports said, "Violence is never the answer. Let's not lose sight of the fact that a young lady lost her life and that men have a role to play in this. And hopefully we can help change that radically."

Reaction in a tragedy such as this, involving someone in the spotlight, is to be expected. In the following days we will hear from family members, co-workers and fellow players and those who loved and cared for both Belcher and Perkins.

"We are overwhelmed with both sadness and confusion," said Mary Mimble, Belcher's aunt during a press conference on Monday.

What is always interesting is the way in which a story like this is advanced in the media. We will see follow-up stories that focus on the details of this incident, as well as reports that take broad strokes framing the role guns play in our society and when incidents raise to this level of violence.

Sports commentators are looked to for their experience and insight into the world in which they cover. More often it is what takes place inside the arena of the sport, but sometimes they are looked to for their opinions on what happens off the field, as well.

Should we be surprised that a sports commentator talks about guns?

Given the role firearms have in our society and in the lives of the athletes from our favorite teams, I say the topic – pro and con – is fair play.

Talkbacks

beefsupreme | Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:53 a.m. (report)

What really specifically enraged me was when they stated that the deceased "would still be alive if they didn't own a gun". This is truly a wild speculation.

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Myke | Dec. 5, 2012 at 10:55 p.m. (report)

Cost-ass should stick to sports commentary something he is at least marginally qualified for.

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AndrewJ | Dec. 5, 2012 at 10:21 a.m. (report)

The rant by Costas gave us some insight into his personal beliefs. Either: A) he thinks the private security detail that follows him around at events carries rainbows and butterflies in their holsters, or B) he thinks that he deserves a higher level of protection than the so called common man. I wouldn't be entirely shocked if it was the latter; hypocrisy seems to be on the defining traits of most ultra-liberals. The fact of the matter is that until the government can find a way to regulate the darkness that exists in some peoples hearts, these sad events will continue to occur. So wake me up when the "Bad Intentions Regulations Bill" hits the floor for debate.

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beefsupreme | Dec. 5, 2012 at 8:42 a.m. (report)

If he tackled her to death, would we be having a conversation about banning football?

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