Fire Bob Costas for what? Gun defenders disrespect free speech
The Kansas City Star
It’s fairly astounding that some of the same people who advocate for the 2nd Amendment, even to the point of defying common sense, would have no respect for the freedom-of-speech principle unheld in the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment.
I speak of the intolerant folks who are calling upon NBC to fire long-time sportscaster Bob Costas for suggesting in a halftime commentary on Sunday Night Football this week that the deaths of Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher in Kansas City could have been avoided if Belcher hadn’t had access to a handgun.
Costas cast his lot with Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock, reading aloud a portion of a Whitlock column. “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today,” Whitlock wrote.
As you see here, Fox News hosts and others are debating whether Costas should be fired. The inevitable “Fire Bob Costas” Facebook page has been created.
Fire him for what? Costas crossed no lines here. He expressed no racist sentiment. He didn’t use his platform to unfairly bully a person or group of people. Those are things that could get media personalities fired by their corporate bosses.
Costas was weighing in on an issue. As a commentator, he has the right to express a vigorous opinion, popular or not. The gun defenders will choose not to believe this, but Costas was actually expressing a mainstream view. All across America, people heard the terrible story of Belcher shooting his girlfriend and then himself and said to themselves, or to someone in the room: “If only he hadn’t had access to a gun.”
I’m not sure I even agree with the Whitlock/Costas premise in this instance. As more details emerge, Belcher, the former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, comes across as deeply troubled. He seemed to be out of control on Saturday morning. If he hadn’t had two guns in his house, he may have figured out how to get one. It’s easily done in Kansas City, unfortunately. Or perhaps Belcher might have used another deadly method.
It’s all speculation, of course. Nobody really knows. I do think we can say with certainty that the United States would experience many fewer homicides if it were not saturated with firearms. You hear the stories of people who used weapons in self-defense and possibly avoided becoming victims. But they are vastly outnumbered by the gun tragedies.