Two months after advocating for gun control legislation in the wake of Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas is calling out for a closer look at the gun culture in the National Football League.
Costas sat down with Jon Stewart for Monday's episode of "The Daily Show" and opened up about being caught in the middle of a gun-control firestorm after he used his halftime report to speak about firearms following the Blecher shooting. Belcher killed his girlfriend then himself on Dec. 1.
During Monday's show, Costas spoke to Stewart about how change is really only possible if this country's attitude towards guns is transformed.
"Even if every possible common sense bit of legislation was passed, and even if every gun were legally obtained, you'd still have to deal with a gun culture," said Costas. "It's an attitude toward guns."
Costas notes that both the violent nature of football and head trauma could be components to violence, but effects of the culture also weigh heavy. "We have to acknowledge that guns are glorified in hip-hop culture," he said. "Some 70% of the players in the NFL are African American. Not all of them are influenced by that part of the culture, but some of them are. Guns are glorified. Many of these kids come out of these environments where its commonplace for a 14 or 15-year-old kid to be packin'."
Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer for the NRA, spoke about gun culture to USA Today in December (before Sandy Hook). He insisted that gun violence roots back to the individual. "It's not a culture of athletes," he said. "It is particular behavior by particular individuals that is no different from the rest of society. We've got to stop making excuses. A murderer is a murderer."
LaPierre might deny such a culture exists, but a New York Times article that dates back to 2003 detailed the prevalence of guns in the NFL, despite the fact that the NFL's gun policy advises players against owning a firearm.
A USA Today study from December estimates that three out of four NFL players own guns.