Bob Costas has always been an outspoken critic about the dangers playing football can pose to the athletes who take to the gridiron, and some of that chatter resulted in NBC Sports' decision to part ways with the legendary sportscaster, according to an in-depth report from ESPN's "Outside the Lines".
Bob Costas has stepped forward with claims that NBC took him off covering the Super Bowl due to his outspoken opinions on the dangers of concussions.
The remarks went viral, leading to a text Costas said he received from NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood. "I thought that the movie would make an impact, and I thought this was a way not only for NBC to acknowledge it, but to get out in front of it".
"I remember being told that now I can no longer host the Super Bowl", Costas said to ESPN. "'To which my response was not, 'Oh please, please, change your mind.' My response was, 'Yeah, I guess you're right". "Everyone walks on eggshells around the NFL", Costas told ESPN.
"And I think NBC Sports deserves credit for this". In a highly fragmented television landscape, the National Football League is the biggest ratings juggernaut. But the implication was that networks are nervous to offend the league in case it leaves them hanging during the next broadcast rights negotiations. The NFL's regular season viewership went up about 5% in 2018 compared to the previous year, attracting an average of 15.8 million viewers. "And it isn't even close".
In 2015, after the movie "Concussion" about Dr. Bennett Omalu's early campaign to call attention to concussion-related trauma caused by playing the football premiered, Costas wanted to speak on the subject for one of his on-air essays. After the ESPN interview was published, NBC issued a statement in response.
NBC, for whom Costas had worked since 1979, immediately distanced itself from the comments and Costas attempted to clarify his stance. "We're very disappointed that after 40 years with NBC, he has chosen to mischaracterize and share these private interactions after his departure".