NEW YORK — Bob Costas‘ “Sunday Night Football” halftime commentary supporting gun control sparked a Fox News Channel debate Monday on whether NBC should fire him and a Twitter storm involving Ted Nugent, Rosie O'Donnell, Herman Cain and many more.
Mr. Costas said the shooting has invoked the “mindless sports cliche” that “something like this really puts it all in perspective.”
“Please,” he said. “Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective.”
He then paraphrased and quoted extensively from a piece by Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock.
After praising the column, Mr. Costas said: “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.”
Mr. Belcher shot and killed Ms. Perkins, the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, on Saturday morning, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in the parking lot of the team’s practice facility.
Quickly, Mr. Costas‘ comments renewed one of society’s most contentious debates, made more intense by people who say a football halftime show was not the right place for Mr. Costas to be speaking on the issue.
Above a headline “Advocacy Gone Awry?” the hosts of Fox’s “Fox & Friends” morning show read letters from viewers criticizing Mr. Costas‘ stance. On Megyn Kelly’s afternoon show, there was a debate on whether Mr. Costas should be fired.
Former talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell, however, tweeted “way to go, Bob Costas.” His former NBC colleague Keith Olbermann observed that it was “amazing that all those ripping my friend Bob Costas would, had he taken opposing view, be defending him for using the 1st.”
Before the Olympics this summer, Mr. Costas criticized the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to hold a moment of silence to mark the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich in 1972. But he stopped short of repeating that criticism on the air.