With a broadcasting career that spans nearly a half-century, even someone as renowned as Bob Costas is bound to have some swings and misses.
Costas joined his former NBC colleague Michele Tafoya on her newly launched podcast Sideline Sanity for a wide-ranging interview this week. During the conversation, Costas divulged on one of the most regretful moments from his career.
On Dec. 12, 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, before driving to the team’s training center and committing suicide. 24 hours later, Costas used his halftime commentary on NBC’s Sunday Night Football to address gun control, referencing a Fox Sports article written by Jason Whitlock.
Costas concluded the segment by saying, “But here, wrote Jason Whitlock, is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Expectedly, Costas was criticized by half the country for his opinion on gun control, prompting an apology two days later. Costas apologized at the time, not for his take on gun control, but for trying to address such a polarizing and nuanced topic in just 90 seconds. (Interestingly enough, Whitlock also wound up under fire for this, and expanded on his gun control thoughts himself in a follow-up column.) Costas delved deeper into why he feels his approach was a mistake, and why it’s one of his biggest regrets, in this new interview with Tafoya.
“That’s one of the great regrets of my career,” Costas told Tafoya. “Not because of the blowback, but because I booted it. Not because I took on the subject, but because I took too much for granted.”
“I missed a better opportunity,” Costas said. “That story was tangentially about a gun culture, but it was primarily about domestic violence, and I had a platform that you could sometimes use for good and I missed the chance to do it. Because domestic violence is not a left/right issue. It’s an important issue.”
“What I regret more than the fact that I caught a lot of heat and there are some people who still think that I’m some sort of extreme left-winger on this, I wish that hadn’t happened, but what I really regret most is that I missed the opportunity to make a legitimate important point in front of a very large audience about domestic violence. I screwed that part up,” he admitted.
Costas has been criticized for providing politically driven commentary during his tenure with NBC, but the Hall-of-Fame broadcaster said he provided hundreds of halftime monologues during Sunday Night Football and only two were political by nature. The 90-second gun control essay and his strong criticism of the Washington Commanders’ previously offensive moniker.
“The idea that ‘he always used that platform to push his politics’ is objectively false,” Costas told Tafoya.