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Dennis Cometti: Beyond the call of duty
Kansas City Cheifs coach Romeo Crennel wipes his eyes before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. Pic: AP

Bob Costas is one of America's pre-eminent sports broadcasters.

But during the half-time break in Sunday night's NFL coverage on NBC, he went well beyond your normal sporting cliches.

SEE BOB COSTAS' VIDEO BELOW

Less interested in whether the Eagles would sack their coach (relax, not Woosha. These were the Eagles of Philadelphia) he chose instead to address the murder of 22-year-old Kasandra Perkins the previous day.

Perkins was shot three times by Jevon Belcher.

The shooting took place in front of the couple's three-month-old daughter and Belcher's mother.

Belcher, an NFL linebacker with the Kansa City Chiefs then took the ten-minute drive to the team's stadium where, in the midst of a short conversation with coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli (thanking them for all they'd done for him) he fatally shot himself.

Due to play against the Carolina Panthers 26 hours later, the 25-year-old lay dead in the stadium's car park.

Sensitive to a fault, the NFL decided the game should go ahead.

It did, and the Chiefs won for only the second time this season.

Clearly coach Crennel was the problem all along. His contribution to the win was, given he'd watched a young man he cared for blow his brains out the day before, most likely muted at best.

In the aftermath of all of that Bob Costas chose not to editorialise as such, instead he quoted another journalist Jason Whitlock, who he said, "put it far better than I ever could".

Perhaps that was Costas' way of trying to protect his employer NBC but by articulating Whitlock's (pardon the pun) parting shot "if Jevon Belcher hadn't owned a gun, both he and Kasandra Perkins would be alive today", his position on gun control in the United States was decidedly transparent.

And immediately Costas became the target!

The bile and threats directed at him in the 'social' media and on talkback radio provide a great insight into the underbelly of America.

To read, and listen to, the ravings of those who railed against Costas and Whitlock, America's Founding Fathers clearly intended freedom of speech to run a distant second to the individual's right to bear arms.

As a regular visitor to this country I find it remarkable that so many here would champion guns over something like health care when the national decline is so tangible.

I've always admired Costas, and Sunday in Dallas (ironic) did nothing to change that. Knowing elements of his audience, he was brave.

The idea you don't shoot the messenger is not necessarily a universal concept.