Costas, Whitlock – A few hundred words on Sports, Guns, Religion

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Collaborative Posts

Bob Costas recited the end of Jason Whitlock’s December 1st article urging the NFL to cancel the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. Costas received quite the backlash from the public, who didn’t think it was the appropriate time to “debate” gun-control. I quibble with this characterization for two reasons. Bob Costas did not debate the gun-control issue, he opined about gun-control, which whether we like it or not played a role in deaths of both Kassandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher. Whether or not it was the primary issue is irrelevant, Costas’ essay is a platform for him to give his opinion about a subject concerning the sport of football. He did not ask to repeal the 2nd Amendment, he spit a cold hard truth about the platitudes we use when tragedy strikes sports.


The irony of it all is that the point both Costas and Whitlock were attempting to make in their respective essays were reinforced by the responses by many in the public. “There’s no place for political commentary in Sunday Night Football.” Sunday night football and Monday Night Football and national televised sporting events have always been political. From the 5000 sq. yard American flags draped on the field to the passionate singing of the National Anthem at every game. When players showboat or don’t look the way we think they should at a particular position, we comment and boy do those comments always toe the line of racial and cultural politics. But when the issues aren’t easily dismissed by saying something along the lines of “this isn’t a racial issue,” “he doesn’t play the game the right way,” or “player safety” the public tends to cower away from the issue and decide that sport is not the place to play out those so-called political agendas.


Unless it’s tied up in feel good story, an answer or a human interest documentary we have very little room in the sports world to address the deeper political issues that play out on a regular basis. Whitlock wasn’t too far off when he compared NFL on Sundays to church, there are some things we aren’t allowed to bring into the Church. Guns are one of them and this past Sunday, Costas brought guns into our sacred grounds and the senseless unproductive mudslinging commenced. 


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