Costas on Gun Control

By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)

During NBC’s Sunday Night Football Bob Costas is given a minute at halftime to give his opinion on a sports story that happened during the past week and last night he used that minute to talk about Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and gun control. People are now questioning whether or not Costas overstepped his bounds as a sports reporter to champion an issue like gun control.

Watching it live, I didn’t think anything of it. In my opinion, Costas has earned the right to be a little preachy if he wants to be. I’m not really concerned with Costas’ message, just the fact that people will take any related news story to champion their own cause.

Costas referenced Kansas City sports writer Jason Whitlock who said something to the effect of “[without guns these two people would be alive]”. But how can Whitlock prove that? He can’t. Belcher may have used a gun simply because it was the easiest method, but it isn’t the only one.

I’ve also heard people say that there’s undoubtedly a link between this incident and brain trauma among NFL players. I’m sure if they do a thorough autopsy they will find brain trauma because he was an NFL player, but that doesn’t prove a conclusive link. It’s like finding liver damage in a drinker or lung damage in a smoker, it did nothing but contribute to any potential issues he had but there’s no way to prove the strength of any link in any one example.

I was surprised by the official stance that the Chiefs took. They used this to take a stand against domestic violence. I think, and it’s been unspoken from what I can tell, that Belcher had an undiagnosed personality disorder. I’m not an expert and I didn’t know the man, but it sounds like he may have been bi-polar or schizophrenic.

Having said that, if I say any more about it I’d be a complete hypocrite for championing a new cause. Besides Belcher’s case isn’t proof of anything. People should champion their causes with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and not anecdotal evidence. People are just so emotional sometimes they are more likely to grab their pitchfork when they hear a story, rather than see a statistic.