Last night, Bob Costas shocked much of the country by getting an interview with alleged child rapist Jerry Sandusky. This morning on MSNBC, Costas related that he was preparing to interview Sandusky’s attorney Joe Amendola (himself in the news for ghastly reasons) when the lawyer suggested Costas also interview Sandusky. This happened 10-15 minutes before the scheduled Amendola interview. If there is such a thing as a “PR move” when you now have even more cases accusing your client of sexual abuse of children, being interviewed via phone by Bob Costas is not it. Even Costas questioned the move as the right thing to do for Amendola’s client.
Especially given such a short period of time to prepare, Costas was superb in the interview. This interview was Bob Costas at his best – a well prepared, cutting interview that asked many of the questions viewers at home would have likely asked themselves. Costas is a bit of a difficult person to try to grasp in terms of his importance and legacy in the sports media. To tell you the truth, it feels like his talent hasn’t always been put to its full potential (consider his Sunday Night Football “halftime essays”). Maybe it’s just that Costas is so skilled, so smooth at whatever it is he does that he’s been taken for granted and not been able to be pegged as “the baseball guy” or “the interview guy” or what have you. He’s been around forever (without aging somehow, would you believe he is 59 YEARS OLD!!), called the NBA Finals and World Series, had interview shows on NBC and HBO, and hosted the Olympics since 1992. That’s quite a diverse, lengthy, impressive resume.
The Sandusky interview has been praised as some of his finest work and his direct questioning including, “Are you a pedophile?” and “Are you sexually attracted to young boys?” have produced the most alarming soundbytes. Some have expressed a missed opportunity for Costas to follow up when Sandusky talked about horsing around in the shower, which is a good point. However, given the setting and the context of the interview it truly is an outstanding job by Costas.
You’re free to make your own judgment on what this interview says about Sandusky…