NBC Sports’ Bob Costas ignited a firestorm after his controversial remarks on gun control during the Sunday Night Football halftime show. He was responding to the tragic murder-suicide involving NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility.
While he has refused to walk back his remarks, Costas almost apologized for the rant during an interview for “The Dan Patrick Show,” saying it was a “mistake” to make such a complex argument when there wasn’t enough time to “flesh” it out.
Costas said he has received “tremendously positive” feedback as well as “considerable backlash” following his comments. He blamed some of the backlash on a coordinated effort by the “gun lobby.” He told Patrick that he was informed by a producer he would have about 1 minute and 15 seconds to talk about the Belcher case. He chose to use that time to read from sports columnist Jason Whitlock’s column, which blames guns for the tragedy.
“My mistake is I left it open for too much communication,” he said. He then blamed the criticism that followed on a lack of time to thoroughly discuss “football culture, the gun culture, domestic violence.”
Costas went on to say that he violated his own broadcasting rule:
“A friend of mine in broadcasting pointed this out to me yesterday, and I agree with him. He said, ‘you violated your own rule.’ Because we have had this discussion before. I’ve always said, if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics, make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out…or save them for forums where you do. In this particular situation, the timeliness of it was, if you’re going to comment on it at all, it had to be this Sunday.”
Watch Costas’ appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” below:
Costas also blasted his critics who have called for him to be fired over the incident, saying it’s “beyond absurd” to want everyone you disagree with to be fired.
“This is simply a case of: some people don’t agree with it, or they don’t agree with what they think I was saying, and therefore, it would be okay if I was booted off the air … ‘yeah, let’s fire everybody we don’t agree with.’ It’s beyond absurd.”
He joked that there is apparently more regard for the Second Amendment in some circles than free speech.
So where does Costas really stand on the Second Amendment? He explains: “Well, here’s where I stand: I do not want to see the Second Amendment repealed.”
“People should be able to own guns for their own protection. Obviously, those who are hunters,” Costas added. “The access to guns is too easy in some cases. I don’t see any reason why a citizen should be able to arm himself, as they can in some states and some cases, arm themselves in ways that only the police or the military should able to — to have a virtual militia purchased by mail order or purchased at gun shows. Why do you need a semi-automatic weapon? What possible use is there for a citizen to have a semi-automatic weapon?”