NBC's Bob Costas is a key face of the NFL. It's not his job to be a spokesperson for the league, but as the man who hosts football's highest-rated game every week, he's one of the most important figures NFL fans are exposed to throughout the season.
Costas, though, doesn't pull punches where Roger Goodell might prefer it. He pontificated about gun control during a Sunday Night Football soliloquy last December and dove into the controversial Redskins name debate with another essay last month.
Now, the legendary sportscaster has entered a whole new realm of football-related antagonism by stating on a Slate.com podcast that he would tell his kids to play a sport other than the one he covers each Sunday night.
Here, courtesy of the Washington Post, is what Costas apparently told a viewer while recording the podcast Monday in New York.
“I’d tell them no. I’d tell them no. I know that goes viral tomorrow. I might say — and you know what I know many many thoughtful people who have been involved in football their entire life, coaches players who belie the stereotype of what we’ve got or think we’ve got coming out of the Dolphins locker room, very thoughtful people where football has shaped their lives in a positive way, so I’m not going to paint everyone with a broad brush.
Maybe the better answer is: Be advised of the extreme dangers, know what you’re getting into. But let me put it this way: If it were my son and he was 13 years old and had reasonable athletic ability I would encourage him to play baseball, or to play basketball or to play soccer or something other than football.”
You can listen to the full podcast, which is hosted by Josh Levin, right here:
As Cindy Boren of the Post points out, Costas isn't the first public figure to take that stance. President Barack Obama, Kurt Warner, Adrian Peterson, and Bart Scott have all made similar statements, among others. But this one hurts because I think the NFL would prefer that its broadcast partners express a little more enthusiasm regarding the business they essentially represent.
This, though, isn't surprising. Costas once called the game "unacceptably brutal." He doesn't feel he owes anything to the world of football, and that's admirable in a world where many league partners cave to the NFL's best interests.