Hey Gun-Toting, NRA-Freaks, Hypocrites: Leave #BobCostas Alone

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I don't follow the National Football League much these days, so forgive me for being light on details here.

It went something like this:

A Kansas City Chiefs player allegedly murdered his girlfriend. I initially read that he allegedly committed the crime -- remember he is innocent until proven guilty -- in front of the woman's mother. Then, he apparently hopped in his car and, according to police and witnesses, killed himself at the Chiefs' complex.

As we have come to expect in our desensitized nation, the NFL, the Chiefs and, presumably, a fair number of the team's fans brushed off the incident. Somebody made a "team decision" (translation: A bunch of football players situated themselves in a circle in the locker room, held hands, bowed their heads, prayed and said, "Alright, let's go play some football!") and the game went on because, after all, that's what the alleged murderer would have wanted.

His girlfriend's family likely won't be watching television anyway, the day after one of their own was taken out. Just another day in the life. Plus, they are too busy worrying over who will take care of the three-month old child left behind.

Anyway, I'm just wondering, after the Chiefs won one "for their fallen teammate," could they rally and somehow snag a wildcard spot before the end of the season?

Meanwhile, legendary sportscaster Bob Costas went on national television during halftime of the Kansas City game, making the case for gun control.

That triggered an immediate -- and often harsh -- reaction by, I can only assume, a fair number of guns' rights advocates and other concerned Americans. You know, after a murder-suicide, we really need to hammer the guy who isn't feeling too good about guns at the moment.

Now, mind you, I am not anti-gun.

I know that many of my liberal friends would refuse to do this:

And they sure as hell could not bring themselves to be in the company of these:

But, not me, I'm fine with guns.

I have hung around enough "bad neighborhoods to realize that, yes, it's the person who has the problem ... it's the person who shoots the gun; the gun doesn't have the problem, nor does it shoot itself.

I also respect Bob Costas. I grew up watching the guy.

In fact, when I was a teenager, hosting a sports radio show at a small station in Niagara Falls, NY, I sent Costas a tape of my program, asking for his opinion of my work and some advice. At the time, I was sending my audition tapes to every big sports broadcaster in the world.

Only two big names responded: Steve Somers of WFAN in New York City and Bob Costas of freaking NBC.

I will never forget coming home from school to my mother telling me that Bob Costas called. I thought it was a joke. She stressed otherwise, handing me a message with a "314" phone number. St. Louis. If she was joking, she did her research.

Short story even shorter: I called, he answered. "Hello?" "Hi, is Bob home?" "Yes, this is Bob." Costas told me he liked what I did (I actually sucked) and to "send to every station in America that does sports."

And, yes, this has a ton to do with Costas's halftime expression of opinion.

That's the only personal contact I have had with Bob Costas my entire life. I can only base my personal opinion of him on that. Beyond that, I do not "know" the man.

And neither do most of the people who are personally attacking him for being a bit unsettled over the murder-suicide we set to the backburner in favor of playing a football game.

But that's not even the ironic part. People who presumably feel strongly about their rights and the rights of others to bear arms are ripping Bob Costas -- personally and viciously -- for exercising a closely aligned right: His freedom of speech.

Everybody should shut the bleep up and advocate for better dialogue surrounding mental health and related issues. Cancel the football game and spend three hours using our national airwaves to discuss how to remove the stigma from that epidemic.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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