As a spokesman for Bob Costas elaborated on his controversial commentary on guns, members of the Kansas City Chiefs described their feelings about gun ownership in the aftermath of the shocking murder and suicide committed by Chiefs linebaker Jovan Belcher on Saturday.
NBC spokesman Greg Hughes told USA Today on Monday that in interpreting his “Sunday Night Football” commentary about the murder-suicide, Costas felt “an unfortunate leap was taken that he was advocating taking away Second Amendment rights. He was not.”
Each Sunday, Costas delivers 90-second halftime commentaries and this one, coming the day after the tragic incident in Kansas City, put him at the epicenter of the issue of gun ownership and Second Amendment rights when he noted that, “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” Hughes said Monday that Costas is “in favor of people owning guns to hunt and carrying them in reasonably controlled circumstances.”
Hughes added: “In a short [on-air] time period he can cover only one aspect of a complicated issue. So he quoted [Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock] about the gun culture and an almost Wild West attitude in parts of this country. He is pro-sensible gun reform and pro-attitude adjustment on guns.”
The Chiefs talked about gun ownership in the league with defensive tackle Shaun Smth explaining to Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today why players felt the need to arm themselves.
“Just because we’re NFL players, it doesn’t make us no different. Some of you guys probably have guns in your houses. If you have daughters, you should. You never know when somebody might try to rob you or do whatever, you know?” defensive tackle Shaun Smith said. “At one point a couple years ago, it was nothing but a bunch of home invasions, and you’ve got to protect yourself. You work so hard to get to where you’re at, and I’d be damned if I just let somebody take it away from me, period.”
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have taken steps to educate players about responsible gun ownership and, teammates said there was no sign that Belcher was anything other than a responsible owner who reportedly legally owned the weapon he used Saturday. Rules prohibit players from bringing guns on NFL property and team security officials are available to store weapons.
“I haven’t really had a stance on players owning guns because the law is what the law is,” Chiefs Coach Romeo Crennel, who unsuccessfully tried to stop Belcher’s suicide, said. “When we get guys, you have to educate them about the laws in your state. Generally, what we have attempted to do is tell them, ‘Hey, know the law, turn your gun in to our security people, let us hold on to it, and after that, if you need it, you can take it home, put it in your safe, do whatever you need to do with it.’
“But the law allows people to have guns.”
More on the Belcher tragedy