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Bob Costas is still defending his comments about gun control.
The NBC broadcaster made headlines for his halftime rant during Sunday’s Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game. His comments were spurred by Saturday’s murder-suicide, in which Kansas City Chiefs starting linebacker Jovan Belcher, 25, fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins — also the mother of his 3-month-old child — then drove to a practice facility near Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in front of team personnel including coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli.
During NBC’s coverage of the game, Costas quoted Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, who in a column argued that such tragedies will continue to occur as long as America’s “current gun culture” continues to exist.
” ‘But here,’ wrote Jason Whitlock, ‘is what I believe,’ ” Costas concluded. ” ‘If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.’ “
Costas continues to discuss the matter with guests John McEnroe and Charles Barkley in exclusive interviews airing Thursday night on Costas Tonight on NBC Sports Network. (The sitdown was taped Tuesday at Rockefeller Plaza in New York.)
“Some people misunderstood when I pointed to what Jason Whitlock had said about a gun culture,” he said. “They thought I was laying everything at the feet of that. Domestic violence is part of it; the possible effect that football itself has on many of its participants is part of it. Drugs and alcohol could be part of it. And I didn’t say anything specifically about gun control legislation or the second amendment. I don’t want to repeal the second amendment. I think we should have responsible gun control but that wouldn’t prohibit somebody from carrying a gun.”
Barkley, former basketball pro and current NBA analyst for TNT, also chimed in, saying he has carried a gun in his car since he was 20.
“I just feel safer with it because we have jocks who get robbed all the time, road rage and things like that,” he says. “I feel a sense of peace when I have it with me, but it would take extreme circumstances for me to even touch it.”
On the other hand, tennis legend McEnroe advocates increased gun control.
“I feel safer without it,” he says, adding: “There are too many scenarios … that would make it that much easier to pick up a gun and do something.”
Costas also recently defended his words an interview with The New York Times.
“I am emphatically not backing off from anything I said,” he told the newspaper. While not advocating for the repeal of the Second Amendment or the right to have guns under “reasonable circumstances,” Costas said, “I think most reasonable people think we do not have sufficient controls on the availability of guns and ammunition.”
And on Wednesday night, Costas appeared on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, where he debated gun control with host Bill O’Reilly.
Costas Tonight: 2012 Year in Review, which airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Network, also includes exclusive interviews with legendary basketball coach Pat Riley and Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin.
Watch a clip below.
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