Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bob Costas, Half Time Preaching Segments, and the Narrative

Not too long ago, Kansas City Chiefs Player, Javon Belcher, shot his girlfriend, and then drove to the Chiefs practice facility and shot himself.  It was a breathtaking tragedy.  A 22 year-old woman was shot.  An amazing athlete is dead.  Everyone expected this would be discussed, at length during football Sunday and even Monday.  

What I didn't expect is that Bob Costas would use half time to expound upon the evils of guns, and use a pretty lame anti-gun column by Jason Whitlock to do it.

First, Mr. Whitlock is a sports writer.  He should stick to that.  Am I being unfair?  Maybe.  But one look at Keith Olbermann explains to you why sports guys should stick to sports.  Mr. Whitlock's column was hilarious, except it was also sad.  He believes that Kasandra Perkins and Javon Belcher would still be alive if we didn't have a gun culture.  He's welcome to believe what he wants, but his assertion fails the smell test when we simply look at O.J. Simpson.  No gun involved there.  Mr. Simpson's lack of a gun didn't stop him from brutally murdering two people.  Yet Mr. Whitlock proceeded to rail on the Chiefs organization, because he expected they wouldn't immediately start pushing for new gun control measures.  Not once in his column does he mention that Belcher had a history of an explosive temper and violence.  Not once does he mention the rash of head injuries, which  most recently contributed to the suicide of Junior Seau.  Not once does he bring up the culture of celebrity, which lifts up these normal human beings to some special status because they can throw a football, catch a football, and tackle other guys.  No, Mr. Whitlock's first impulse is to attack an inanimate object - the gun.  Mr. Whitlock will later go on to call the NRA the newest version of the KKK.   He had an agenda, and that's what he wrote about.

Then the rest of us were treated to Bob Costas preaching about it during halftime of a prime time football game.  He quoted Mr. Whitlock, while once again, never mentioning Belcher's aggressive history, history of head injuries (if there was one), or that celebrity culture.

Fast Forward to this past weekend.  A Dallas Cowboys player, Jerry Brown, is killed in one car accident, caused by his friend and teammate, Josh Brent.  Brent was legally intoxicated and is now facing manslaughter charges.  Mr. Whitlock and Mr. Costas are both notably absent from the discussion.

Where is the lecture on the evils of drinking in excess, to the point where you get in a car and kill another human being?  Where is the cry that alcohol, fast cars, and reckless driving are the newest versions of the KKK?  Where is the much needed lecture on the culture of celebrity that exposes these young men to alcohol and drugs with no thought before hand?  Heck, the NFL has a number players can call to get a cab to come pick them up if they get drunk, or high, or just don't feel well.  Nothing like looking the other way.

There was nothing.  Not a single thing, from these two popular sports commentators.  Two more people lost in the prime of their lives.  No Brent isn't dead, but he's likely going to end up in jail, and likely never going to see a football field as part of his chosen profession again.  All of it caused by one of the number one advertisers during televised football games - alcohol.

This is not to say that I am blaming alcohol.  Just like guns, alcohol is an inanimate object. So are cars that go fast.  It's the people, the ones making the choices, that cause these inanimate objects, to become dangerous killers.  

But there is one big difference.  I can't say whether Miss Perkins would be still be alive if Belcher hadn't had a gun.  If he was angry enough, if he was aggressive enough, I'm sure he could have found a kitchen knife, just like O.J. Simpson.  Or, i suppose he could have just beat her up.  Or  maybe nothing.  We will never know.  But I do know, if there had been no alcohol and no fast car, Jerry Brown would still be alive, and Josh Brent would still be playing football.  Even with knowing that, it doesn't give me the right to take those things away from Mr. Brent before hand, on the simple fact that he "might" drink and he "might" get in a car, and he "might" drive too fast, and he "might" kill someone.  Nor does anyone have the right to infringe on our second amendment rights, because someone might be crazy enough or evil enough to shoot someone else.  

I would venture to say, it is more likely that someone will get in a car drunk, and cause an accident, then it is likely that someone who lawfully owns a gun will shoot another human being out of anger or just plain crazy.

Yet, the voices who were crying for gun control, are practicing a telling silence on this latest tragedy.  Because bemoaning the evils of alcohol and fast cars, well, it just doesn't fit the narrative.