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Bob Costas Says He Was Removed From Super Bowl Broadcast Due to Comments on Concussions
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50138"><span class="small">Ryan Young, Yahoo!</span></a>   
Monday, 11 February 2019 09:48

Young writes: "Costas was pulled from the Super Bowl broadcast last minute for his comments on concussions and brain damage in the NFL."

Bob Costas confirmed to ESPN on Sunday that he was removed from last year's Super Bowl broadcast after NBC took issue with his comments on concussions and CTE in the NFL. (photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)
Bob Costas confirmed to ESPN on Sunday that he was removed from last year's Super Bowl broadcast after NBC took issue with his comments on concussions and CTE in the NFL. (photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)


Bob Costas Says He Was Removed From Super Bowl Broadcast Due to Comments on Concussions

By Ryan Young, Yahoo!

11 February 19

 

ob Costas was wrapping up his lengthy career with NBC during the 2017 NFL season.

Costas was planning to finish out the season hosting NBC’s Sunday Night Football, concluding with him hosting the Super Bowl one last time before stepping away.

For a broadcaster like Costas — who had been with the network since 1979 and hosted some of the biggest sporting events in the world, including numerous Super Bowls, Olympic Games, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown horse races, and more — it seemed like a fitting ending.

Except that never happened.

Costas was pulled from the broadcast last minute for his comments on concussions and brain damage in the NFL.

“I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,'” Costas told ESPN. “My thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?'”

Costas’ ‘controversial’ comments on concussions

Three months before the Super Bowl, Costas spoke at a journalism symposium at Maryland. That’s when his comments on concussions and brain injuries in the NFL took off.

“The issue that is most substantial — the existential issue — is the nature of football itself,” Costas said, via the Washington Post. “The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains.”

Now, that’s not an outstanding view and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the league in recent years. Brain damage — specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE — has been a rising issue among both current and retired NFL players.

In fact, a 2017 New York Times report found that of 111 brains of NFL players examined by a neuropathologist, 110 were found to have CTE. That disease is most commonly caused by repeated blows to the head.

“You cannot change the basic nature of the game,” Costas said at Maryland, via the Washington Post. “I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”

Costas called out those who are trying to ignore the facts around the issue, too, clearly making his stance on the issue known — if that wasn’t obvious before.

“There is this crazy notion that you hear on talk radio and some right-wing sites that this is just another left-wing conspiracy to undermine something that is quintessentially American,” Costas said, via the Washington Post. “There’s a word for things like that, there’s many words. One of them is bulls‑‑‑, because that’s what that is.”

Kickback from his comments

Costas’ comments at Maryland quickly went viral, which prompted NBC to release a statement distancing itself from him.

“Bob’s opinions are his own, and they do not represent those of the NBC Sports Group,” an NBC spokesman said, via ESPN.

That Saturday, Costas went on CNN in an effort to make sure it was known he’s not being critical of NBC. He didn’t, however, soften his stance on football and brain damage.

“I’ve been saying these things for the better part of a decade, and often on NBC, in front of the biggest audience not just in all of sports, but in all of television — ‘Sunday Night Football,'” Costas said on CNN, via ESPN. “And I think NBC Sports deserves credit for this.”

Just an hour later, Costas received the text telling him he had “crossed the line.”

Not soon after, he had been pulled from the Super Bowl broadcast.

“I recall the phrase, ‘It’s a six-hour, daylong celebration of football, and you’re not the right person to celebrate football,'” Costas told ESPN. “To which my response was not, ‘Oh please, please, change your mind.’ My response was, ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right.'”

Costas floated idea to interview Roger Goodell

Instead of feeling punished or being upset, Costas told ESPN he felt relief from being off the broadcast. But, after the news surfaced that he would not be calling the Super Bowl, Costas knew there would be questions.

So he had an idea. He wanted to interview NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I was looking out not only for myself, because I’d like to do the interview, but I was also looking out for NBC because that would have taken them off the public relations hook and eliminated all the confusion about them supposedly kicking me to the curb or throwing me under the bus,” Costas told ESPN.

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