The NFL community is still reacting to the sad, sad story of Jovan Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs linebacker who killed his girlfriend and then himself Saturday. We’re still trying to piece together what happened and why. NBC sportscaster Bob Costas took the issue on during halftime of the Football Night in America broadcast between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
Costas agreed with often controversial Foxsports.com writer Jason Whitlock, a former columnist for the Kansas City Star. “But here is what I believe,” Whitlock wrote. “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Both the Cowboys and Eagles are terrible. This allowed Costas’ comments to surpass anything that happened on the field as the lead story from this game. Social media instantly responded to Costas, many viewers swearing off the NFL on NBC. Considering MSNBC is the cheerleading section for the political left, as Fox News is to the right, it wasn’t going to take much prodding.
It isn’t the first time the lines between sports broadcast and political commentary have blurred. ESPN once hired the notoriously brash Rush Limbaugh to do political commentary during its pregame show for reasons only it understands. He then stopped just short of calling Donovan McNabb’s NFL career a creation of the liberal media. ESPN, seemingly baffled that one of the most polarizing figures in talk radio made a polarizing comment, quickly let Limbaugh go.
Before Costas and Limbaugh, legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell didn’t hold anything back. He didn’t back down from any athlete, even master of verbal assault Muhammad Ali. But our nation and our TV has changed so much, I don’t know if we’d have a place for Cosell today.
Costas built his reputation as a sports journalist, unlike Limbaugh. I have no doubt he’ll be on NBC next week. I also have no doubt that diehard sports fans will return to NBC as soon as their favorite teams do. As for the Belcher tragedy, we’ll learn more about this couple than we care to know as the sordid details come out. None of it will help this situation make more sense. The answers in incidents like this only raise more questions.
Read [Los Angeles Times]