Why NBC Dumped Bob Costas

Costas

It has to do with his outspoken criticism of the NFL in relation to the league’s concussion crisis.  Here is a taste of some great long-form sports journalism from Mark Fainaru-Wada at ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”:

By this point, Costas’ line at Maryland — This game destroys people’s brains — had gone viral, raising hackles in the NBC offices. The New York Daily News asked NBC for comment, and a spokesman responded, “Bob’s opinions are his own, and they do not represent those of the NBC Sports Group” — prompting a story from Raissman under the headline, “NBC throws Bob Costas under the bus and in the process sends warning to rest of its talent.”

Sensing a budding problem with his employer, Costas says he decided to appear on CNN on Saturday morning to make it clear he wasn’t being critical of NBC. So, for the third time in a week, Costas was talking publicly about football and brain damage. He didn’t soften any of his comments — in fact, he reiterated them — but he did attempt to defend the network.

“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 told host Michael Smerconish. “And I think NBC Sports deserves credit for this.”

Within an hour, Costas says he received a text from Flood, who oversees sports production for NBC.

“I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,'” says Costas, who says he no longer has the text.

“My thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?'”

Later, Costas says he pointed out that he had been saying these things about football for years — often on NBC. That didn’t matter; it seemed this was one time too many.

Costas was told he was off the Super Bowl LII 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 says. “To which my response was not, ‘Oh please, please, change your mind.’ My response was, ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right.'”

Read the entire piece here.

Katie Ledecky: Springsteen Fan

Katie-Ledecky

I was thrilled to learn that Katie Ledecky is a Bruce Springsteen fan!  See her interview with Bob Costas here.  I am hoping that the Boss will invite her to one of his upcoming stadium tours!

Ledecky told Costas that her father first introduced her to Springsteen when she was six-years-old.  They would play the Boss on their drives to and from swimming practices.  As some of you know, I have a daughter, Allyson, who is a year younger than Ledecky.  She is a volleyball player and we have spent a lot of time over the years on long car drives to volleyball practices and tournaments cranking the music of Bruce Springsteen and singing together at the top of our lungs. When our throat got sore I would stop the CD and explain to her the meaning of the songs we just heard.  I have no idea if anything I said during these mini-lectures actually sunk in, but I definitely think these experiences taught her patience! 🙂

My daughter is about to leave home. Her first college volleyball preseason starts in a few days, and classes begin at the end of the month.  So I must admit that I got a bit emotional when I heard about the way Ledecky bonded with her father through the music of Springsteen.  I loved the look on her father’s face when the camera panned to the Ledecky family standing off stage. I could relate.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to more father-daughter bonding on some of the long car rides from Harrisburg, PA to Grand Rapids, MI.

Fea ladies

The Fea ladies enjoying a Springsteen concert at Hershey, PA in 2014

And now for a full confession.  I went to bed last night just before the Costas interview with Ledecky.  As I climbed under the covers I got some texts from Allyson, who was at a friend’s house. Here was part of our exchange:

Ally: Dad, OMG, ARE YOU HEARING THIS?

Ally: DAD ARE YOU HEARING THIS

Me: No, I’m getting in bed

Ally: SHE LOVES SPRINGSTEEN

Me: Who?

Ally: KATIE LEDECKY

Ally: SHE LOVES SPRINGSTEEN

Me: Awesome

Ally: HER DAD PLAYS IT IN THE CAR FOR HER ON THE WAY TO EVERY PRACTICE AND RACE!

Ally: SINCE SHE WAS SIX YEARS OLD!

Me: Wow!

Ally: THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT “GLORY DAYS”

Ally: HER FAMILY LOVES THE BOSS!

Me: It’s a sign of YOUR future Olympic glory!

Ally:  And she’s also 6’2

Me: Yup–there you go.

Ally: Hahahahahahahahahaha!

OK–with the emotional father-daughter stuff out of the way I will now write the rest of this post as a serious Springsteen aficionado.

If you watch the end of the interview, Costas says that Springsteen’s song “Glory Days” should now be on the top of Ledecky’s playlist.  Obviously, Costas has never listened to the lyrics of “Glory Days.”  It is a song about a guy who was a good high school baseball player but never really made it.  Now he sits around as “time slips away” sharing his “boring stories” of Glory Days.

Hardly the song that Ledecky wants on her playlist right now.  Somehow I also doubt that it is a song she will relate to thirty years from now.  “Time” will definitely “slip away,” but the stories she tells her kids, her grandchildren, and the people she meets in bars will hardly be “boring.”

 To put it differently, I doubt Katie Ledecky will become another Uncle Rico: