Critics have been calling for Bob Costas to be fired since his controversial comments on gun control during a football game Sunday night and during a wide-ranging interview for The Dan Patrick Show, Costas came near an apology, calling his comments a “mistake” and lamenting the lack of time for making his remarks more clear.
Referring to a column by Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock, Costas originally said, “if Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins [Belcher’s girlfriend] would both be alive today.”
He first told Patrick that the feedback he had received had been “tremendously positive,” but that there had also been “considerable backlash,” and attributed some of it to “the gun lobby.” He explained to Patrick that the reason the situation had even taken place was because he had been told he’d receive “about a minute and fifteen seconds” to address the Belcher tragedy, and that he felt the best way to “come at” the situation from a different angle was to try to point out issues that hadn’t been addressed.
He went on,
“For a long time, I’ve been wanting to get off my chest my disgust with this idea that every time something tragic happens, no matter what it may be, that in any way touches sports, there’s a chorus of people saying, ‘you know, this really puts it in perspective.’ Which is a bunch of nonsense, because if that was true, we wouldn’t have to have that perspective adjusted every time the next tragedy occurs. It’s a bunch of nonsense. And what I was trying to say was, that if you want some perspective on this, there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about.”
Although he called his comments a “mistake,” Costas cited lack of time as the primary reason he was targeted for criticism, telling Patrick, “My mistake is I left it open for too much communication.” His minute and a half guest spot during the football game, he says, didn’t provide enough time to properly discuss all the issues surrounding “the football culture, the gun culture, domestic violence.”
Apparently, Costas had been aware of this problem before and had even created a rule for himself, which he, self-admittedly, violated:
“A friend of mine in broadcasting pointed this out to me yesterday, and I agree with him. He said, ‘you violated your own rule.’ Because we have had this discussion before: I’ve always said, if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics, make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out … or save them for forums where you do. In this particular situation, the timeliness of it was, if you’re going to comment on it at all, it had to be this Sunday.”
Costas then took a shot at his critics, saying “sometimes the quality of the thinking of those who oppose you speaks for itself.” He went on to add that he found it ridiculous that people would call for him to be fired based solely on comments they didn’t agree with:
“I was told — I didn’t see it — that someone compared this as a fire-able offense to situations in which people have made blatantly racist comments, or comments that had no place whatsoever. This is simply a case of: some people don’t agree with it, or they don’t agree with what they think I was saying, and therefore, it would be okay if I was booted off the air … ‘let’s fire everybody we don’t agree with.’ It’s beyond absurd.”
He wrapped up the segment by clarifying his position on gun control, making clear that his comments were about a “gun culture” rather than those who simply want to protect themselves:
“Here’s where I stand: I do not want to see the Second Amendment repealed. … People should be allowed to own guns for their own protection. Obviously, those who are hunters. … Access to guns is too easy in some cases. I don’t see any reason a citizen should be able to arm himself in some states in ways only police or military should — to have a virtual militia [by] mail order or gun shows. Why do you need a semi-automatic weapon? What possible use is there?”
Costas ended his guest spot by saying our lax attitude toward guns “can’t lead to good things.”
Listen to full interview below, via The Dan Patrick Show:
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