(NEW YORK) — Sportscaster Bob Costas says some people “misunderstood” his comments about Kansas City Chiefs Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide during Sunday Night Football this weekend, but he maintains his stance that gun laws need to change.
Speaking on The Last Word in his first television interview since the comments, Costas told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell he was talking about a “gun culture” that he believes is a problem in the United States during the halftime show Sunday.
“I never mentioned the Second Amendment. I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that,” Costas said. “Now do I believe we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes, I do. That doesn’t mean repeal the Second Amendment. That doesn’t mean a prohibition on somebody having a gun to protect their home and their family.”
But even with reformed gun laws, Costas said “you would still have the problem of what Jason Whitlock wrote about and what I agree with, and that is a gun culture in this country.”
The NBC sportscaster fielded criticism earlier this week for comments he made about the Belcher murder.
“If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today,” Costas said Sunday, quoting from an article condemning gun ownership.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said “there is no excuse” for those kind of remarks after a tragedy.
“Here you have an inexcusable crime, you have a murder, and you have a national broadcaster basically using the opportunity to preach his social agenda during the national sporting event,” LaPierre told ABC News Monday. “The day we stop calling murderers ‘murderers,’ the country’s in trouble.”
Costas addressed criticism along that vein Tuesday.
“No one is saying that Belcher is not responsible,” Costas said. “Could he have strangled her? Could he have stabbed her? Of course he could have. But the easy availability of guns makes this sort of thing just far more likely to occur.”
Costas explained that he meant to offer “a bit of perspective” during the 90-second lecture, and that his “mistake” was in trying to capture a complicated subject in a short amount of time.
“What I was trying to say was that if you want some perspective on this there are a number of issues related to this that we could begin to talk about and think about the problem was that I didn’t have enough time to get to many of them,” Costas said. “I’ve always said if you’re going to get into touchy topics, nuanced topics make sure that you have enough time to flesh them out.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Jamie Crawford, CNN
James Griffiths and Shen Lu