Bob Costas Tells O’Reilly: I Don’t Back Up On Anything I’ve Said

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[Cross-posted at News Hounds]

Bob Costas visited The O’Reilly Factor last night to discuss those gun comments he made a few days ago in the wake of the Jovan Belcher suicide/murder tragedy. It seemed that the two guys had a prior friendly relationship and if they didn’t before, they do now. Costas stood by his comments and added on to them, with minor challenges from O’Reilly. In fact, O’Reilly’s biggest concern seemed to be that Costas “call a Christmas tree a ‘Christmas tree.’”

Costas emphasized that he is “not looking to repeal the Second Amendment… I didn’t call for any specific prohibition on guns, never used the words ‘gun control.’ But he had a powerful message that O’Reilly let him deliver almost completely uninterrupted.

Since I made these comments, I have heard from players past and present, from coaches, from executives in the NFL saying they have long been alarmed and concerned by the number of players who cavalierly believe that you have to have a gun.

… I am not the least bit afraid to talk about the gun culture, to talk about domestic violence. I thought it was self-evident that this was a domestic violence case, self evident. To talk about the effects that football and the culture of football have on many of the people who play it. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. I will look for places where there’s more time to do it.

In retrospect, I don’t back up on anything I said, but I think it might have been more effective if I said, ‘Look, if we’re looking for perspective on this, we’re gonna have to have a serious discussion within sports, an ongoing discussion, not five minutes of faux tears about it, but a serious discussion about domestic violence, about the culture of the game itself, about the easy access to guns, about steroids, drugs and alcohol and in the future, we will soon do that… I think that would have… led to less misunderstanding of where I was coming from.

…I can not think of a single instance involving a professional athlete whereby that athlete having a gun averted or diminished a dangerous situation but I can give you a long list of tragedies that came about because guys were packing.

O’Reilly, ever grandiose, concluded by telling Costas, “Anytime you get in trouble, you come right here, we’ll get you out of it.”

Costas said, “Merry Christmas.”

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