I like Bob Costas. He doesn’t spend most of his time as a sports reporter talking about politics, but occasionally, when something in the world of politics is related to what he covers in the world of sports, he does connect the dots, and it’s nice to see those who spend their time using sports to avoid the outside world have to take a few seconds to consider that…horror of horrors…the outside world affects sports, too.
Costas is more than likely right that, if it hadn’t been so easy for Jovan Belcher to gain access to a gun, two people who are now dead might be alive today. People can tiptoe around that, say a bunch of empty words about terrible tragedies, but people who really grasp what happened aren’t going to be content with that. Their thoughts will naturally turn, as did those of Bob Costas, towards preventing the easy access to firearms that made this tragedy happen.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen Costas make political comments while speaking in his capacity as a sportscaster, though he does not make them often. As I noted above, he tends only to share them with his viewing audience when they relate to the sports events he is covering – and I sense that he tends to make them only when he thinks they are so important that the normal convention of not making such comments could not be observed by any person wishing to remain a decent individual.
The other political viewpoint I associate with his sports reporting is his position on revenue sharing in baseball. As a baseball fan as well as a sportscaster, Costas firmly stated his opinion that a lack of credible revenue sharing and salary caps is doing a lot to kill baseball. People like to tiptoe around that, too. They pretend that the Yankees and a couple other deep-pockets baseball teams can pay their players any astronomical sum possible, and people will still want to go to baseball teams to see their team get slaughtered by a rich team. They pretend further that baseball players can demand any obscene amount of money and it won’t have an effect on whether baseball remains affordable or whether labour/management disputes will cut short seasons.
Costas said his opinion, out loud, because he covers sports and he cares about what happens to the sports he covers. He doesn’t do it often, but he seems to have some sense about what level of crazy merits him taking the unusual step of speaking out. Baseball being about to commit figurative murder-suicide provided him one reason to do so, and I have no doubts he feels it was worth the criticism he received to stand up for a sport he clearly loves.
A football player having easy access to firearms to _literally_ commit murder-suicide is obviously another place where the decision to speak out was worth the criticism. Good for Bob Costas for taking the sports world seriously enough to defend it – again.