Bob Costas says he was fired from the Super Bowl because of his concussion comments
When longtime broadcaster Bob Costas was suddenly pulled from NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl last year, many believed it may have been related to his increasing outspokenness about the dangers of concussions in football.
In an interview with ESPN this week, Costas confirmed the rumors. His public comments about brain injuries in football cost him his spot covering the Super Bowl.
“I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,’” Costas said about the text he received from NBC executives. “My thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?’”
The text message came after Costas had spoken at a Maryland journalism symposium in November 2017. During the symposium, Costas specifically discussed the risks of concussions in football.
As The Washington Post reported, Costas told the gathering “The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains.”
“You cannot change the basic nature of the game,” Costas continued. “If I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”
After the comments, NBC released a public statement saying, “Bob’s opinions are his own, and they do not represent those of NBC Sports Group.”
Costas also attempted to defuse some of the tension in an appearance on CNN a few days later.
“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,’” he told host Michael Smerconish.
“And I think NBC Sports deserves credit for this.”
Apparently, this wasn’t enough, as Costas received the text from NBC executive producer Sam Flood shortly after his appearance. Still, Costas says there is no ill-will between him and the network.
“I recall the phrase, ‘It’s a six-hour, day-long celebration of football, and you’re not the right person to celebrate football,’” he told ESPN. “To which my response was not, ‘Oh please, please, change your mind.’ My response was, ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right.’”