By Ken Reed
For anyone in their 30’s or 40’s, Bob Costas has been the one and only host of the Olympic Games’ television coverage in the United States. His 30-year run ended at this Olympics. Costas is nowhere near Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In fact, he’s at his home in Newport Beach, California, watching his NBC replacement, Mike Tirico, host the Winter Olympics. Costas says he’s not unhappy with his bosses at NBC, and is fine not playing a starring role — or any role for that matter — at the Pyeongchang Games.
“My attitude is I have had a wonderful ride and so many wonderful things to look back on and so many great things have happened and great friendships and collaborations, so when things take another turn in another direction, that’s just the way it goes,” Costas, 65, said.
Costas is probably being a little diplomatic when discussing his diminished role at NBC. It’s quite possible his strong opinions have contributed to his reduced presence on major NBC sports broadcasts.
Late in his career, Costas has increasingly spoken out on contemporary sports issues. His most recent rant has been against football. More specifically, he’s spoken strongly about the dangers football presents to the human brain.
While speaking at the University of Maryland, Costas said football “destroys people’s brains.”
“To not acknowledge that and to just be some houseman for the NFL was something I could not do,” said Costas.
His honesty likely cost him his role at this year’s Super Bowl. Costas was scheduled to host the Super Bowl with Dan Patrick. However, in a late decision, NBC honchos replaced him with Liam McHugh.
Costas is comfortable with his reduced broadcasting role with NBC. And, at this point in his career, he also seems quite comfortable delivering strong opinions on hot sports topics.
“The cracks in the foundation are there,” says Costas about America’s football structure — from the youth level to the pros.
“The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.