*NBC sports commentator Bob Costas has made headlines in the past for speaking out on current issues in the world including the issue of gun control last year and on Sunday night, he did it again.
Now he’s putting his energy into other matters like the use of the name Redskins by Washington’s NFL franchise. The NFL announced that they would speak with the Oneida Indian Nation about the name issue.
But the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, said the name Redskins is like “a badge of honor” and implied that the team would not be changing its name. The name change even had President Obama offering his two cents.
Now Costas has weighed in saying: “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 can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.”
*On Sunday, NBC sports analyst and commentator Bob Costas weighed in on the ongoing gun control fight after the tragic murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher on Sunday Night Football. It has already gone to the edge social media universe and back again as critics and supporters alike have flooded Facebook and Twitter.
Though Americans have been disputing the right to bear arms since the Constitution was written, Costas’ remarks brought that fight into a whole new arena, pun intended. The speech, which spanned 1:41, was described as being exploitive of a tragic event by some , and outright “sanctimonius drek” by former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. NBC is catching backlash for the speech as well.
This isn’t the first time the Fourth Estate swung for the fences in over editorializing, nor is it the first time Bob Costas has fired from the hip. In May 2007, Costas went on record as stating George W. Bush’s presidency, whether you agree or not isn’t the point-he’s a SPORTS journalist, and who could forget that creepy interview with Jerry Sandusky? As a commentator and in-studio host Costas is very engaging. Part of that appeal is that you just never know what ol’ Bob is going to say next.
Though Costas is taking the heat for using a sporting event as a personal microphone once again, the words he parroted were mostly those of FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock. Jason is very familiar with the city of Kansas City and the Chief’s organization having covered the NFL for the Kansas City Star and local sports stations WHB and KCSP. In his piece, Whitlock drew a line between this incident and the shooting death of 17 year old Jordan Davis, and one could might even say he was insinuating Trayvon Martin as well in a morbid, heart-wrenching by proxy due to the similiarities.
It’s obvious their deaths are tied together by the use of firearms, Davis and Martin are tragically kindred in that they were gunned down by white men feigning law and order. Whitlock, like Costas, made a career for himself by speaking his mind. He was awarded by the Scripps Howard Foundation with the National Journalism Award for commentary in 2008. The Foundation said his “ability to seamlessly integrate sports commentary with social commentary and to challenge widely held assumptions along the racial divide” is the primary reason he was given the award. But just because one is an award-winning journalist doesn’t mean every thing he/she produces is worthy of any positive praise let alone an award. In February Whitlock tweeted “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight” during the New York Knicks’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in which Jeremy Lin scored a career high 38 points. So, apparently he was trying to challenge widely held racial assumptions that go-round as well, huh? Silly me for not noticing.
In their race to wage war against the Second Amendment both Bob Costas and Jason Whitlock ignored several glaring issues that have long begged for national, primetime spotlight, domestic violence and suicide among NFL players. Addressing those issues before a largely male audience would have done a world of good and could have lead to a productive societal discourse as opposed to explosions of pointless verbosity. Instead he chose to rattle the NRA’s cage.
In addition, Jason Whitlock unwittingly dishonored Jordan Davis, Kasandra Perkins, Trayvon Martin and all other innocent victims of gun violence by associating them with Jovan Belcher. When you go after the Second Amendment in the wake of Jovan Belcher’s killing of Perkins, and subsequent suicide, you’re in essence saying he was a innocent victim of the Second Amendment. If he was in fact a victim of the Second Amendment then that would mean he should be mourned by us all, as we’ve mourned Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin and now mourn Kasandra Perkins. If he is indeed a victim of the Second Amendment then he should be remembered and celebrated because, like Davis, Martin and Perkins, he was minding his own business when the Second Amendment fired upon him with extreme prejudice.
Belcher, like the other victims, couldn’t help the circumstances that fate thrust upon them. But we all know that’s not what happened. Jovan Belcher is not a victim. He shot his girlfriend 9 times before taking his own life, leaving his newborn child parentless. Mentioning him in the same breath of any innocent victim of gun violence dishonors the memory of them all. Sports journalists who like to speak on societal issues usually can only do so when the opportunity arises in which they can somehow tie said issue to sports or vice versa. The actions of Belcher gave Whitlock and Costas that opportunity, and they were both off the mark. NFL players have been notorious for incidents of domestic violence, and Belcher is the 6th NFL player to commit suicide in recent memory. Now that was a connection worth making. Costas missed a golden opportunity to speak against domestic violence and concussions as well.
Some of the symptoms of a concussion are emotional changability or mood swings and irritability. One could imagine how it would be difficult for a concussed individual to resolve conflict in a rational, productive manner. Blecher and Ms. Perkins had recently sought out team officials for counseling, according to the Kansas City Star. Despite being an all state wrestler and football player in high school, playing collegiate football and professional football, the Kansas City Chief’s released a statement saying Belcher “did not have a long history of concussions”. I personally find that hard to believe. I’m not saying the Chief’s are lying, but it’s just hard to believe because he had participated in violent sports most of his teenage years and practiced a violent sport as a profession. To the naked eye strong safety and linebacker appear to be two of the top five most concussion prone positions in football. Belcher played linebacker. But not every concussion goes diagnosed and the long term structural and physiological ramifications are still being debated by medical researchers. Whitlock could have just gone ahead and left Jordan Davis out completely. Even mentioning him in this context is a reach that wasn’t worth attempting. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were victims of racist zealots of the Second Amendment. Though I am a fan of their work, I must say with regret that these were horrible attempts at commentary on both Costas and Whitlock’s part. Though I am a fan of their work, I must say with regret that these were horrible attempts at commentary on both Costas and Whitlock’s part.
EUR associate Ricardo Hazell is a journalist based in New York City. Contact him via: firstname.lastname@example.org
*The former football coach in the center of the Penn State sex abuse scandal recently spoke to the media and maintains that he is innocent.
Jerry Sandusky, who was questioned in a telephone interview Monday night on NBC News “Rock Center” by Bob Costas, was grilled about the explosive allegations of child sexual abuse. Sandusky said he is innocent and has denied all 40 charges of child sexual assault.
“Are you a pedophile?” asked Costas.
“No,” answered Sandusky.
“Are you sexually attracted to young boys?” Costas asked.
Sandusky repeated Costa’s question before answering, “I enjoy young people, I like being around them, but no, I am not sexually attracted to young boys.”
Sandusky did admit, however, that he has showered and “horsed around” with young boys. “I have hugged them and touched their legs,” he admitted.
Asked if there was anything he had done wrong, Sandusky said, “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”
Penn States’ wide receiver coach Mike McCreary previously stated that he encountered Sandusky in the Penn State shower room sodomizing a child in 2002. McCreary reported the child to be about 10 or 11 years old.
Sandusky denied the charge, but did admit he was in the shower with the young boy, but that they were just “horsing around.”
Meanwhile, the mother of the boy identified as “Victim Number 1” was interviewed on “Good Morning America” said her son broke down in tears when he heard Sandusky claim on TV that they were just “horsing around.”
The mother said her son was 10 or 11 when he first met Sandusky in 2005 or 2006, and the former coach lavished presents on him, including clothing, a computer, cash and trips, according to the 23-page grand jury report.
It also charges Sandusky with molesting the boy more than 20 times.
When she asked her son why he cried, he said, ‘Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid he’ll go free.”
The mother is angry that Sandusky is denying the charges.
“It sickens me that he is on TV making himself look more guilty.” The mother said that Sandusky had ”a planned out strategy to groom children to molest.”
She went on to say, “I don’t know why a man 50 years old is showering with kids.”
The mother said she is “disgusted and sickened” to see Sandusky walking around as a free man while she and her son, who is now a teenager, feel they must hide to protect their anonymity. It is reported that the teenager is taking medication.
“It makes me really mad that my son can’t go out and have a normal life. He can’t go out and hang out at the mall, because he might run into Jerry. Sandusky gets to go to the mall and shop and do whatever he wants to do. That aggravates me. He should be in jail.”
The interview with Costas was Sandusky’s first public comment on the charges. He had previously maintained his innocence through his attorney, Joe Amendola.
Sandusky is free on $100,000 bail and is awaiting his first hearing on Dec. 7.
Costas then said that Sandusky has been accused of “monstrous acts” and that many in the public views him as a “monster.”
Sandusky said that he hoped people could “hang on” until his attorney could fight for his innocence.
Investigators on the case are working on fresh new leads. Reports are surfacing that there could be as many as 10 more victims coming forth in the case as the explosive story continues to develop.
Along with everyone else, Bob Costas, the TV sports commentator and play-by-play man remembers being rocked by the news that the magic man was had AIDS.
“I was stunned,” Costas said, “and my immediate thought was, knowing what we thought we knew about HIV, we would watch Magic Johnson die a public death, that he would waste away. This was what we thought we understood about the virus, that his days were numbered.”
Now the number of days Johnson has ahead of him seems limitless when the strong, healthy-looking basketball great, onetime coach, voluble television commentator and successful businessman puts on his smile and optimism and shakes your hand.
Chris Mullin, who played with Johnson on the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team, said that when he sees Johnson anywhere, his own big hand disappears into Johnson’s bigger hands. “It makes you remember,” Mullin said, “just how strong he is.”