By Grant Bissell
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - A controversial comment from Bob Costas has the gun control debate heating up.
Over the weekend, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then himself. And Costas used the Sunday Night Football halftime show to state his opinion.
Costas said: "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."
Since that comment aired social media outlets have been buzzing with debate. And one particular tweet caught NewsChannel 5's attention.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce tweeted Monday morning: "Costas missed the point. Belcher tragedy is a DV (Domestic Violence) issue, Not a gun control issue."
"I think he's a very smart guy but I was a little disappointed when I heard about his remarks," said Joyce. "To me, when I heard that, that is not a crime that occurred because a gun was handy. That is a crime that's a result of a toxic dynamic that started in that relationship. Domestic violence isn't about a particular weapon or means of assault. It's a crime about power and control."
Steven King, owner of Metro Shooting Supplies, agrees the Belcher case goes beyond handgun availability.
"This football player is a murderer," said King. "He is not a football player at this point. And whether he used a firearm or his bare hands or a knife or his car, there are plenty of ways that he could have killed his girlfriend and killed himself that wouldn't have involved a firearm.
Joyce believes too much focus is being put on manner of death, rather than what led to the shootings.
"I think we as a community need to ask ourselves what are we going to do about domestic violence?" said Joyce. "How are we going to intercede and make sure that we don't keep losing people to this, this phenomenon that cuts across all racial and socioeconomic lines?"
Costas was not available for comment, but a spokesperson for the sports commentator addressed the criticism.