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Opinion

Politics and sports journalism don't mix

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Opinion,Op-Eds

Perhaps it's fitting that a year swamped in journalistic malpractice would end with what sports "journalists" have done with the case of Jovan Belcher. Last Saturday, Belcher, a Kansas City Chiefs football player, murdered his girlfriend and then killed himself.

Later that day, Fox Sports blogger Jason Whitlock wrote a piece on whether the Chiefs should play the following day. His politics overcoming any journalistic practice, Whitlock's article went on to condemn society for failing to reflect on what he called "the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it."

Whitlock's piece would have gone unnoticed but for the fact that NBC's Bob Costas quoted another line from it during the "Sunday Night Football" broadcast. Costas repeated Whitlock's assertion that "if Jovan Belcher didn't possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

A day later, Whitlock decided to double down and turn the debate ugly. In a podcast with CNN's Roland Martin. Whitlock said, "You know, I did not go as far as I'd like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America's gun culture, I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don't have our best interests [at heart]."

Costas is no journalist. He overlooked the fact that Belcher murdered his girlfriend in a towering rage by shooting her nine times. Given Belcher's evident and uncontrolled rage, it's not unreasonable to suppose that Kasandra Perkins would have just as surely been murdered with a knife, a heavy ashtray or his bare hands.

Costas apparently believes, like most liberals, that guns emit an evil spell, causing people to murder each other. Whitlock, on the other hand, is capable of analytical thought, but his thought pattern is racist.

Whitlock aimed his racism at the NRA and missed. He hit the black community instead. Whitlock's reasoning is that black people are incapable of acting in their own self-interest. Offered drugs or guns and the opportunity to commit crimes against each other -- Whitlock evidently believes -- they will always make the wrong choice.

Just as false and outrageous as his libel of blacks is Whitlock's libel of the National Rifle Association. The 4.3 million members of the NRA are people of every color, religion and background. To equate the NRA with the KKK is to equate millions of average Americans with terrorists. (I am not a member, but I might join just because of this.)

And as long as he wants to bring up the KKK, it's also worth mentioning that gun control was used in the Jim Crow South to make sure blacks could not defend themselves. Whitlock would benefit from reading the Supreme Court's decision in D.C. v. Heller -- or at least the part that discusses how, in the post-Civil War South, blacks were routinely denied their Second Amendment rights and often disarmed by force. As the court's opinion relates, Congress was twice forced to counteract racist gun-grabbers by reaffirming that black people had the same Second Amendment rights as whites -- in the Freedmen's Bureau Act of 1866 and again in the Civil Rights Act of 1871.

The NRA was born in 1871 and has been advocating Americans' Second Amendment rights since 1934. It is a natural friend of the black community, not its enemy.

Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush adminstration. He is the author of several best-selling books, including "Inside the Asylum" and "In the Words of Our Enemies."

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