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Bob Costas Criticized For Gun Control Editorial During ‘SNF’

Bob Costas (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Bob Costas (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Broadcaster Bob Costas used his halftime segment on “Sunday Night Football” to advocate for gun control following this weekend’s murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher, causing an immediate debate on social media.

In a segment about 90 seconds long, Costas paraphrased and quoted extensively from a piece by a Fox Sports columnist.

“You want some actual perspective on this? Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but who today said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article,” said Costas. “‘Our current gun culture,’ Whitlock wrote, ‘ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.'”

After praising the column, 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.”

Belcher shot and killed 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.

Belcher was a native of Long Island who graduated from West Babylon High School, where he led the prep football team to its first undefeated regular season when he was a senior.

The online reaction to Costas’ segment was swift.

“We thought Bob Costas was smarter than that,” wrote musician Ted Nugent. “Only fools blame tools instead of human failings. Shame Bob.”

Many took issue not with Costas’ views, but with the broadcaster for expressing his personal opinion on a program meant for entertainment.

WFAN co-host Craig Carton said Monday: “I thought the beginning of it was very thoughtful, poignant. But when you go down that road of the whole gun control debate — which we’re not getting into on this show ever — to me, not the place for it.”

“Regardless of the topic, the larger point is that Costas’ editorializing needs to be saved for a more fitting platform like Costas Tonight or Rock Center,” wrote AwfulAnnouncing.com’s Matt Yoder.

Was it the wrong platform to advocate for gun control? Be heard in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)