Bob Costas and Politics – His Best Rants

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Updated: July 18, 2014
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Love him or hate him, Bob Costas is the only player in his game. He is the sole, live television personality with the fortitude to take a side and stand with issues others in television run and hide from.  Granted, Keith Olbermann smacks down social ill-doers with the quickness of a fly-swat, but not in the same forum as Costas.  Without question, Bob Costas has the comfort of a massive (NBC) network backing and a ranking in sports commentating that is parallel to none.  Nevertheless, he delivers monologues in a style that Capitol Hill staples only wish they could mirror.  So here’s to you Bob.  Let’s review some of your finer rants.

#1. Costas on the Redskins Team Name:

Bob has been accused of exhibiting nauseating political correctness.  On the topic of a professional sports team named the “Redskins,” it’s hard not to rally around Costas’ rant below:

During halftime of the Sunday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Washington football team name. He said the Redskins’ name is an “insult” and a “slur.”

“There is no reason to believe” anyone behind the Redskins team or the NFL organization harbors any prejudice towards Native Americans, Costas said. He compared the Redskins’ name to other NFL teams with politically correct names that “honor, rather than demean” Native Americans, such as the Braves, Chiefs and Warriors.

“But think for a moment about the term ‘Redskins’ and how it truly differs from all the others,” Costas said. “Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait, nor could it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur no matter how benign the present-day intent. It’s fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended but if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?”

 

#2 Costas on Gun Control

There is nothing like a good old gun control debate to fire up both sides of the aisle.  My fellow Busch Leaguers and I made statements on Facebook that were met with glowing support and instant “de-friendings.” Bob’s forum is just a wee bit bigger than 1000+ friends we have, so he voiced his opinions then was forced to defend and even renege a bit.

”In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions and their possible connection to football will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

Costas later back peddles on the DP Show a bit after far-reaching criticism. Patrick asked Costas for his exact stance on gun control. Costas obliged:

“Here’s where I stand: I do not want to see the second amendment repealed. … People should be allowed to own guns for their own protection. Obviously, those who are hunters. … Access to guns is too easy in some cases. I don’t see any reason a citizen should be able to arm himself in some states in ways only police or military should — to have a virtual militia (bought by) mail order or gun shows. Why do you need a semi-automatic weapon? What possible use is there? … Whitlock wrote about a gun culture. That’s what I was focusing on (in the halftime segment).”

Even after the clarification, Patrick told Costas he thought his Sunday segment was too “heavy.”  Costas raised the Aurora Co. shootings at the movie theater at the end of his explanation.

“There are those who believe that denying a semi-automatic weapon or an assault rifle is the first step down a slippery slope in denying an old lady a gun for her own protection,” “There are people who honestly believe that in Aurora (Colo.) if only a dozen or so people there to watch the Batman movie had been packin’, they would have been able to take down the nut job in full body armor with military-type guns.” “I think any police officer if you told them that would roll their eyes.”

#3.  Costas with Obama and a Monologue on Putin

With Obama, Costas highlights the American statement in support of gay athletes, expounding upon the US Olympic committee being comprised of several notable gay Americans.

And here’s a Costas monologue of sorts on Vladimir Putin where it looks like NBC will go out of its way to paint Putin in the best possible light. Costas receives widespread criticism including dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages citing Costas as a communist:

Costas on Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The Sochi Olympics have been an object of fascination and controversy for months now. At the center of every question is the country’s president, Vladimir Putin. He was the central force behind bringing these Games here and was also involved in just about every detail of their planning and presentation. It’s a pivotal and controversial juncture in his ongoing effort to lead his country back to prominence.

“Putin has been a fixture on the international stage for almost 15 years as either president or prime minister. That’s far longer than any other leader among the world’s most influential nations. Just in the past year, Putin brokered a deal to allow Syria to avoid a U.S. military strike by giving up its chemical weapons and helped bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear intentions. He has repeatedly showcased his confidence to take on the West, particularly the United States, offering asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, enticing Ukraine to back out of a deal to join the European Union, and passing laws viewed as repressive to members of the gay community and their supporters. He even wrote an op-ed in The New York Times published last September 11 explaining his view of the situation in Syria and chastising President Obama for calling America ‘exceptional.’ A month later, Forbes magazine named Putin ‘The World’s Most Powerful Person,’ knocking Obama down to No.2.”

Costas has been called a communist, a liberal who has no business calling sporting events and even an anti-American for his perceived support of Putin.  What’s your take?  Is there room for political opinion in sport?  Bob seems to think so.  NBC clearly thinks so.  The forum in which Bob operates cuts a wide swath when it comes to viewership.  Sunday Night Football boasts 21 Million followers.  21.4 Million tuned into the Sochi Olympics on a nightly basis.  This begs the question.  Is NBC truly in support of solving social ills, or is there a less clear agenda at play?  Regardless, there’s nothing like a Bob Costas halftime monologue on Sunday night in November.