The tragic murder-suicide involving former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, who fatally shot and killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins before committing suicide at the team facility in the front of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli Saturday morning was the topic of discussion by Bob Costas of NBC Sports at the halftime of the Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys NFL Week 13 showdown on Sunday Night Football.
Here’s the transcript (followed by the video and my reaction):
Well, you knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, [inaudible] sports clichés was heard yet again: something like this really puts it all in perspective.
Well, if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf-life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games.
Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this?
Well, a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock with whom I do not always agree, but who today said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.
“Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “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.”
“Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football, will be analyzed. Who knows?”
“But here,” wrote Jason Whitlock, “is what I believe: If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Here’s the video by Bob Costas.
While Costas is of course entitled to his opinion and there are times when I enjoy his halftime SNF segment, this is not one of those times. I had no idea that people never killed each other or themselves before the creation of the gun.
Very enlightening. You just blew my mind, Costas. (Yes, I’m being facetious.)
Here’s some perspective: People kill others with various weapons. If he couldn’t purchase a gun and couldn’t get one from someone else, he just would’ve used another weapon.
We don’t know what drove Belcher to kill the mother of his three-month old child in front of his own mother before taking his own life, but blaming handguns (especially when we don’t know anywhere near all of the facts) is absolutely asinine.
With that said, there are actually some solid points presented in Jason Whitlock’s article.
Within two hours (of this terrible tragedy) the NFL instructed the Carolina Panthers to travel to Kansas City as scheduled in preparation for Sunday’s noon kickoff. By 3 p.m., the Chiefs announced that Crennel and team captains had decided to play Sunday’s game as planned.
It should come as no surprise that Crennel, Chiefs players, Pioli, owner Clark Hunt and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell quickly agreed not to delay Sunday’s football congregation at Arrowhead Stadium.
Twenty-eight hours after witnessing one of his starting linebackers take his life, Crennel will stand on the sideline as young men play a violent game. Twenty-eight hours after one of their best friends killed the mother of his child and himself, Chiefs players will take the field and play a violent game.
Football is a game of emotion. Football is a game in which the coaches and players preach about treating each other as family.
How can they play Sunday? Why should they?
Belcher and his girlfriend didn’t die in a car accident 30 minutes away from Arrowhead Stadium. This isn’t some tragedy Crennel and Pioli heard about. Belcher crashed his car through the gates of the Chiefs practice facility. He pointed a gun to his head in front of Crennel and Pioli. He killed himself within a quarter of a mile of Arrowhead Stadium, where the players and coaches work.
I just don’t get it. And I’m not trying to vilify the Chiefs for choosing to play Sunday’s game. It shouldn’t be their decision. Roger Goodell should’ve made this call. Crennel, Pioli and Kansas City players are justifiably still in a state of shock.
But from there, his arguments head downhill.
You may argue that we all grieve differently. You may argue that playing the game is the best way to move on and heal. You may argue that canceling or delaying the game would serve no purpose and would be unfair to the fans who traveled to Kansas City to see Cam Newton and the Panthers play the Chiefs.
I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.
How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?
That’s when blood began shooting out of my eyes.
“I’m in favor of gun control” — said none of our country’s founding fathers ever.
UPDATE: Judge Andrew Napolitano weighs in and says Costas and Whitlock have “no basis” for bringing gun control into the Javon Belcher tragedy.
Like most Americans, Costas and Whitlock apparently don’t know too much about our country’s history or important issues like President Obama’s secret kill list (which has been well-documented by the New York Times), the NDAA, the PATRIOT ACT, etc.
You know, if you’re going to credit the President for the assassination of Osama Bin Ladin, then you also have credit him for the assassination of thousands of innocent civilians, including hundreds of innocent children in Yemen, Pakistan and other countries.
In addition, here’s a piece by TheAtlantic.com on how the Obama team justified the killing of a 16-year-old American citizen.
OK, I think I’ve dropped just about enough bombs of knowledge for now.
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.
I’ll end with a couple of tweets from Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce:
“Does Bob Costas know that people are murdered everyday by means other than gunshots? Removing guns will not stop psychos from killing people”
“To be clear, I am not a gun person and could care less about the 2nd amendment, I just thought what he said was incredibly ignorant.”
Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com. He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website. Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.