What Could Possibly Go Wrong: Sportswriters Do Gun Control

If you’re not a sports fan you may have missed the news: Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend (and the mother of his child) on Saturday. Belcher then drove to the Chiefs’ practice facility, thanked his coaches for giving him a chance in the NFL and committed suicide in front of them. Bob Costas, one of the most respected names in sports journalism, devoted his halftime commentary to the incident during NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast. But one of the most eloquent voices in sportscasting couldn’t come up with anything original to say about the tragedy. Instead, Costas quoted an anti-gun polemic by a man named Jason Whitlock . . .

Whitlock is a hack sportswriter who’s best known for his ability to find a racial angle in the way a player sips from a Gatorade bottle or how he parts his hair. He most recently achieved a little notoriety for stereotyping an Asian basketball player’s penis size. 

So when presented with the tragedy of Belcher’s murder/suicide, no one familiar with his work could have reasonably expected Whitlock to come up with anything terribly profound. And sure enough, he didn’t disappoint.

Rather than writing about what Belcher did from a mental health or domestic abuse angle, Whitlock pointed the finger of responsibility where any self-respecting mainstream media member would — at the the Second Amendment.

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.

Nothing too surprising there. When your sportswriting stock in trade is racial rabble rousing and dick jokes, a little anti-gun agitprop doesn’t even move the needle much.

Costas, however, is a different kettle of tuna. He’s someone who’s held in relatively high regard. When he pronounces, people with IQs tend to listen. Which is why it was such a bummer to hear his prime time anti-gun rant last night.

Even more disappointing, though, was that — no matter what his opinion on gun control may be — all Bobby could muster on the subject was to quote a journalistic mouthbreather like Whitlock. As John Boch of Guns Save Life wrote, Jason Whitlock wouldn’t know liberty even if she had a pair of 38DDs and was wearing stripper pumps. It’s just sad that Costas doesn’t either.