While I fully respect Bob Costas for his success and his talent, he was misguided in his Sunday night comments on the murder-suicide nightmare of Jovan Belcher.
The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker shot Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their 3-month old baby, 9 times...and in front of his own mother. He then drove to the Chiefs facility and shot himself in front of the head coach and GM that he said meant so much to him.
Costas agreed with columnist Jason Whitlock who wrote at Foxsports.com in part...
Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.
In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
Bob Costas (and Whitlock, and Mike Lupica) is entitled to his opinion as you and I are to our own. The problem is that his national platform has already changed this discussion away from its root cause and back to the un-winnable argument on gun control. The details we know now come from bewildered friends and neighbors who say...
- Jovan came from little and made a huge success of his life through football
- He loved family and always credited his mother, but had no father figure in his young life
- He was apparently loved by his team
- He partied too much
- He had been accused of domestic violence before
- Kasandra was 22 and said to be as immature as Jovan at 25
- They fought a lot and she threatened to move out for good
- She was out "all night" at a concert Friday...they fought Saturday morning and Jovan shot the mother of his daughter 9 times
This is not an access-to-guns story. This is not about concussions, pain killers, drugs, and booze.
Everyone of us...if we are honest...has had a rage filled moment. The question is about what we do at those times. Do you yell and scream, break something, or walk away?
The cowards that punch women or pull a gun are in a different category all together.
Think about it. The gun culture, as Whitlock calls it, combined with those rage moments should be leading to horror stories like this one every week. That doesnt happen. The reason is because Jovan Belcher is to blame...not the gun he was holding. He is the coward that handled his rage by killing the mother of his child- in front of his own mother.
If he hadn't had a gun, the nearest blunt object may have been his weapon of choice.
The NFL and other team sports have begun addressing domestic violence more assertively but it needs to be a priority for every player in the game- of every league. That's why Bob Costas missed the point. Guns are an issue that always deserves more realistic discussion but the blame here needs to be in only one place. That's squarely on Jovan Belcher. He committed murder and changed his innocent baby daughter's life forever.
Costas called out sports media for the lazy cliche of this being another one of those incidents that puts sports in perspective. I would argue that it is more dangerously lazy to blame Belcher's murder/suicide on the gun he held when Costas could have created a national discussion on the domestic violence issue instead.
That would have helped clear the air instead of muddying the water. That's what we should be talking about.