Our nation's Constitution and heritage of responsible and safe firearms ownership are not to blame for the deaths of Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher - tell Bob Costas and Jason Witlock they're WRONG on gun control!
- Columnist, FOX Sports
- VP of Corporate Communications
- Senior VP of Communications, NFL
- Senior Vice President, Communications, FOX Sports
- Vice President, Communications
- Corporate Communications, Fox Interactive Media
- Vice President, Communications, NBC Sports Group
- Director, Corporate Communications, NBC Sports Group
- Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
- VP of Football Communications
We, the signers of this petition and supporters of the Second Amendment Foundation (saf.org), demand from you an immediate public apology to America's millions of law-abiding and peaceful gun owners and civil rights advocates who exercise their rights protected under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Every day, firearms in the United States save thousands of lives, prevent countless rapes, and protect American families from violence at the hands of criminals, both at home and in our streets. Though often ignored to further the anti-civil rights agenda of those who would deny Americans their fundamental right to keep and bear arms for self defense, story after story (such as those found at keepandbeararms.com) shows how responsible gun owners quickly end violent encounters and defend life, often without firing a shot.
During the halftime segment of the Sunday Night Football broadcast of December 2, 2012, NBC Sports' Bob Costas chose to deride millions of Americans and our nation's rich heritage of firearms ownership. Rather than discuss the very real social issues of mental health and domestic violence, and with the full support of the NBC network, Costas chose instead to argue against one of the most important parts of the Bill of Rights and blame America's longstanding tradition of responsible firearms ownership and use for the murder of Kasandra Perkins and the suicide death of Jovan Belcher. ("I did give them [NBC television executives] a heads-up a few minutes before we went on the air and they were ok with it, and they're supportive now." Bob Costas, in a podcast with Jason Whitlock on Dec. 3, 2012.)
Making matters worse, in a December 3 USA Today Sports interview with Michael Hiestand, NBC spokesman Greg Hughes said [about the Costas halftime segment], "...he quoted (columnist Jason Whitlock) about the gun culture and an almost Wild West attitude in parts of this country. He is pro-sensible gun reform and pro-attitude adjustment on guns."
On December 4, in an interview with NBC Sports host Dan Patrick, Costas said, "I don't see any reason a citizen should be able to arm himself in some states in ways only police or military should -- to have a virtual militia (bought by) mail order or gun shows. Why do you need a semi automatic weapon? What possible use is there?" Blaming millions of peaceful gun owners and their expression of personal values - as well as the nations' quintessential personal self-defense tool - for two tragic deaths perpetrated by one clearly disturbed man is neither sensible nor indicative of an appropriate attitude.
In his recent op-ed, FOX Sports columnist Jason Whitlock outrageously wrote, "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....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. [ ] What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."
In the aftermath of that editorial, Whitlock went all-in during a radio podcast with Roland S. Martin on Dec. 3, 2012, stating, "I did not go as far as I'd like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America's gun culture -- I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests [at heart]....I think it’s obvious if you’ve traveled abroad, and traveled to countries where they have legitimate gun laws, that we don’t have to have what we have in America, where people somehow think a gun enhances their liberty, and that people somehow think a gun makes them safer. It just doesn’t."
Whitlock's extremism is only eclipsed by his lack of historical context. Indeed, the rights protected under the Second Amendment were not only central to the creation and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was expressly crafted to address the need to ensure the safety and equal rights of freed slaves, but served to protect civil rights visionaries like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (See Hill, Lance. The Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.)
On a day that millions of viewers wanted simply to view a football game, the NFL's broadcast became a bully pulpit for Costas to repeat Whitlock's hate-filled column.
NBC Sports, FOX Sports, Jason Whitlock, Bob Costas, and the National Football League, you owe me and America's gun owners an apology.
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