December 6, 2012

More Belcher-related material from NBC’s Bob Costas (Kathy Willens / The Associated Press)

Bob Costas monitors his media.

Earlier today, the Erik Wemple Blog wrote an item criticizing the NBC star for some polemical tightrope-walking in the days since his famous editorial during halftime of NBC’s broadcast of “Sunday Night Football.” In that segment, Costas cited a column by Jason Whitlock and inveighed against the role of U.S. gun culture in accounting for last weekend’s terrible murder/suicide involving former Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. In media appearances following his editorial, Costas has protested that he never used the term “gun control” nor invoked the Second Amendment — he was merely citing the excesses of gun culture.

The Erik Wemple Blog found the distinction limp. Deploring a runaway gun culture, after all, is all but tantamount to calling for further gun restrictions. So this blog directly addressed Costas: “Come on, Bob. If you want to be a man of conviction, act that way.”

Not so long after that, Costas directly addressed this blog. Over the Erik Wemple Blog Office Telephone, Costas had this to say about being exhorted to act like a man of conviction:

I don’t consider expanding upon the remarks I was able to make in a short period of time on Sunday night or clarifying what I think might have been misunderstood — I don’t consider that backtracking or equivocating.

I have directly stated numerous times this week that, yes, I do believe we need more comprehensive and effective gun control reform. But exactly what form that would take I would leave to experts on the issue and those who are expert in crafting legislation. But in any case, what I would favor would not undermine what I perceive to be the basic intent of the Second Amendment or take away anyone’s right to protect their home or family.

However, my larger point — and Jason Whitlock’s — was that there is a gun culture in this country and it affects sports and young athletes whereby, even if all the guns in question were legally obtained, the attitudes underlying their use are much more likely to lead to tragedy than to protecting someone’s safety. Those two positions are not contradictory. They are inclusive.

Costas is nothing if not a persuasive guy. Here he does an admirable job of knitting together all his statements on the Sunday night thing. Perhaps we went too far in questioning his convictions. But doing so sure looks like an effective way to get him on the phone.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.