During the halftime break of last night’s Sunday Night Football game, announcer Bob Costas took just over a minute and forty seconds to hold forth, blaming guns in society for the murder-suicide committed by Kansas City Cheifs linebacker Javon Belcher on Saturday. Belcher murdered his baby’s momma early in the morning, then drove to the Cheif’s practice facility to commit suicide.
Costas quoted liberally from sportswriter Jason Whitlock:
I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.
How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?
Our current gun culture simply 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.
In the coming days, Belcher’s actions will be analyzed through the lens of concussions and head injuries. Who knows? Maybe brain damage triggered his violent overreaction to a fight with his girlfriend. What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.
That is the message I wish Chiefs players, professional athletes and all of us would focus on Sunday and moving forward. 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.
But we won’t. We’ll watch Sunday’s game and comfort ourselves with the false belief we’re incapable of the wickedness that exploded inside Jovan Belcher Saturday morning.
It’s quite frankly idiotic to think that a NFL linebacker couldn’t have simply beaten or stabbed his wife to death—hello, O.J. Simpson—if a firearm wasn’t around, nor does an inanimate object have the power to cloud our judgement as both Whitlock and Costas assert.
Far more corrosive and to blame for the epidemic of athlete violence than the firearms tens of millions of Americans don’t use for violence every day is the permissive culture that allows violent athletes second, third and fourth chances because of their celebrity status. The number one contributor to that culture of excessive tolerance: sports writers. Even yesterday, Costas and Whitlock excused the murder committed by Belcher by blaming it on the gun.
I took to Twitter to voice my displeasure with Whitlock yesterday. I was… testy.
I went on to note that the only professional athletes that you never hear throwing tantrums are professional shooters, but you get the point. Thugs are accepted in professional athletics because they make money for the coaches, the general managers and the owners, and the sports media glosses over this criminal behavior instead of calling for these criminal athletes to be thrown out of the game.
Whitlock’s response to my criticism? Dead silence. Incapable of rebuttal, he blocked me. Like the spoiled athletes they cover, sports journalists are thin-skinned prima donnas unable to accept or deal with valid criticism.
Sadly, it’s going to take a popular outcry against “journalists” such as these and the entities they represent by boycotting their advertisers to make a difference. Whitlock and Costas must be removed from their positions as enablers and blameshifters protecting a thug culture in professional sports.
Our world is worse off because of violent thugs like Javon Belcher, and until we get rid of men like Jason Whitlock and Bob Costas who are apologists for such behavior, we can expect the violent, thuggish behavior of professional athletes to continue. How many more innocents must die until the media enablers of this violent sports culture are driven out of business?