NBC Sports anchor Bob Costas used his weekly halftime commentary segment during “Sunday Night Football” to advocate for something that had little to do with sports: gun control.
The impetus was a tragic shooting in Kansas City, when Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, drove to the team’s training camp, and shot himself in front his coaches.
Costas used the words of sportswriter Jason Whitlock to argue that the “gun culture” in America undoubtedly had a role in the shooting, and needed to be changed.
In Sports Illustrated, sports media ace Richard Deitsch critiqued the Belcher coverage on the NFL programs, reserving his harshest criticism for CBS’ handling of the situation. CBS opened with a shlocky live commercial for Garmin GPS devices before finally beginning the show:
What did The NFL Today talk about? It talked about clothing. After analyst Bill Cowher mentioned what kind of ties he and Shannon Sharpe were wearing, viewers were treated to a chuckle-hut segment on the AFC playoff race. Then came a discussion on the NFC postseason picture. Finally, after an excruciating five minutes that should be shown in journalism schools across the country as an example of what not to do on a big story, Brown made the most awkward-of-awkward turns by saying, “All right, fellas, a little switch here.”‘
For whatever reason, “Fox & Friends” opted to criticize Costas for his commentary:
It is worth noting that it is not unusual for NFL programming to feature commentary, what is unusual is for the commentary to be about something other than sports. Given the severity of the news however, there is no way that Costas would have been able to talk about anything other than the shooting.