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In the aftermath of recent tragedies to have stricken the National Football League, on Monday "Piers Morgan Tonight" invited sportscaster Bob Costas to share his unique insight on the culture within America's most popular sport.
On Saturday, a Dallas-area car crash resulted in the death of Cowboy's linebacker Jerry Brown Jr., an incident that came on the heels of a December 1st murder-suicide involving the Kansas City Chief's Jovan Belcher.
Referencing the Florida gun death that divided the country last Spring, Costas pointed to gun legislation that he finds to be far too lax:
"It's ridiculously easy for someone to purchase a gun online or multiple guns or at a gun show and then those guns wind up in the hands of people in Washington, D.C., or Chicago, or New York, which may have stricter gun controls but it's so easy to get around those gun controls. You could literally be a felon, walk out of jail, and it would be very easy for you to purchase a weapon without any kind of a background check," Costas explained.
"George Zimmerman had an arrest record and he had a restraining order for domestic violence taken out against him in his past. Now that restraining order had expired. I'm not commenting on the exact whys and wherefores – that will play out in the court of law – about what happened between him and Trayvon Martin. But what does common sense tell you about the likelihood of that confrontation ever taking place in the first place if George Zimmerman was not carrying a gun?"
Speaking specifically about the NFL, the eight-time National Sportscaster of the Year described what he classifies as a "gun culture" within the league:
"Front page of the paper, not the sports section, front page of the weekend edition of the "USA Today" is about guns in the National Football League," said Costas. "Jovan Belcherb had eight guns ... Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens recently had to turn in his guns because of a legal action ... Tank Johnson, a few years ago, from the Bears, his were illegal, but he had a virtual munitions plant in his house in Chicago."
While Belcher's death was gun-related, Brown Jr.'s came as a result of a car crash, believed to involve alcohol. On Monday, Morgan welcomed relatives of the late linebacker to share their emotions and reactions during an intensely trying time:
"I was upset, but I realized, you know, our youth today are young and stupid, and we was all once that age and we'd done things that we are not proud of," said Stacey Jackson, Brown Jr.'s mother, when asked how she felt in learning that Josh Brent, her son's friend and the driver on the night in question, may have been drinking at the time of the accident. "I realize everyone thinks they're invincible and thinks that it's not going to happen to me. So because I know Josh Brent and he's been part of our family since Jerry went to the University of Illinois, that's all I can do is pray for him and his family because I know he's hurting just as well as we are, because him and Jerry was like brothers."
Brown Jr.'s grandmother Theresa Clark, meanwhile, also shared her sentiments:
"My feelings, my heart, every part of me aches because I knew the legacy that he was leaving for the rest of his cousins, because they were so proud of him that all of them are playing football. Not only did he work hard to become a football player, that was his dream since he was a little boy. That meant more to him than anything in the world."
Watch the clips, and listen to the interviews, as Piers Morgan and his guests react to recent happenings within the NFL and the ramifications that have resulted.
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