By Keysha Hogan
When tragedy meets the sports world, it’s normal for sportscasters to govern themselves with respect, reverence, and overly cautious condolences. But this Sunday, Bob Costas took things too far when he attempted to drop some knowledge on viewers during halftime on Sunday Night Football.
The circumstances surrounding the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kassandra Perkins are chilling to say the least. Perkins was slain in full view of her mother and child, and then Belcher drove 15 minutes to Arrowhead Stadium, thanked the general manger and head coach and fatally shot himself.
After roughly 38 years in this business Costas knows better than look America in the face and offer his view on our current gun laws. And despite popular belief, gun laws do not fall under sacred and holy texts that we must never speak of. But Costas connected the dots on few different crimes and went way too far too soon. If he sincerely felt that he needed to state his platform during this time of grieving, he would have better served the debate by speaking about the violence that can accompany weekly doses of drugs and painkillers while suffering from concussions.
In his speech Costas referenced an article by Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock. He said, “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today.” His comments were insulting, overreaching and at best uninformed.
But, honestly if you look back over Costas’ career there is a history of less than stellar moments. He has played himself in guilty pleasure films like Pootie Tang and BASEketball. Now I’m not judging, we’ve all seen the movies, but why Bob? Why?!
Earlier this summer, Costas was the lead anchor during the Parade of Nations during the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Remember when he started insulting countries as they marched through the crowd? His performance was embarrassing on a global stage as he took shots at North Korea, Pakistan and Idi Amin. NBC would have been better off just cutting his microphone and letting viewers at home play “guess the nations by flag.”
There is no way to diminish the journalist contributions that Costas has made to the sport. It’s a mystery how he sits before us today, a fresh-eyed, never aging super fan of the sports world. His interview where he confronted Jerry Sundusky on his attraction to and luring of young boys was the most poignant, bold and nauseating segment we’ve ever seen. But with all of his experience and dedication to the field, it seems as though Costas is losing his gravitas by the moment.
In the future, when heartache and overwhelming news floods the airways, no one wants to hear social agendas and political posturing during half-time. Hopefully Costas will continue to speak his mind on important causes and issues, but next time to more appropriate audiences at more opportune times.