Bob Costas' halftime essays have become an ongoing source of eye-rolling among football fans for the past few years, and Sunday night was either the worst example yet, or a rare exception, depending on your perspective.
During halftime of the Cowboys-Eagles game, Costas used his time on camera to address the Jovan Belcher tragedy in Kansas City, and make a plea for more gun control in America.
The transcript (via):
Well, you knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again: Something like this really puts it all in perspective. Well, if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf-life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. 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.
"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. 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."
Here we have two of the sports world's most consistently unbearable pundits -- Costas and Jason Whitlock -- in the national spotlight, and ... I think I agree with them?
Sure, Costas' rambling at the beginning of the clip is a textbook example of everything that's awful about his Sunday night "essays" every week, but then he goes and flips the whole script. Just when we were all settled in for another magical night of Costas bashing, he uses the platform to quote from a poignant column and start an important conversation in the face of a tragedy that's left the bulk of us speechless. In other words, he did exactly what someone in Costas' role should be doing every week.
You don't have to agree with what Costas said or the way he said it, but at a time when hundreds of well-paid pundits have made an art of saying nothing, we should respect him for saying it. Right?