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 Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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