Costas – which has hosted almost every imaginable sporting event from the Olympics to the Kentucky Derby – has had a significant impact on the NFL's role in the concussion crisis in the past. But the remarks he made a year ago at a journalism symposium had gone too far for his bosses.
In 2017, Costas told a crowd at the University of Maryland, "The reality is that this game is destroying people's brains – not for everyone, but a considerable number." It's not a small number, it's a considerable number their brains. "
The comments quickly became viral, causing NBC to make a statement stating that Costas's opinions were his own and did not represent the views of NBC Sports. Costas also went to CNN at the time, "to make it clear that he does not criticize NBC," according to the ESPN report. NBC pulled him out of the Super Bowl LII anyway, Costas said.
"I remember the sentence:" It's a six-hour celebration of football, and you're not the right person to celebrate football, "Costas told ESPN," but I did not answer "Oh please, please change your mind "My answer was: & # 39; Yes, I think you're right. & # 39; "
An NFL spokesman told ESPN that the league had not asked to pull Costas off the air.
Costas also told ESPN that an essay he wrote in 2015 in connection with the release of the film "Concussion" was killed by NBC Sports because the network was in negotiations with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football. "Concussion" is a sports drama about the doctor who discovered the connection between CTE and head trauma and the NFL's efforts to discredit its research. Costas wanted to use the release of the film to tackle the problem on national television.
"It was a natural introduction," Costas told ESPN. "I thought the movie was going to make an impression, and I thought this was a way NBC would not only acknowledge it, but also to get out of it."
"You see, the NFL is not only the most important sports object, but the most important building on American television," Costas told ESPN. "And it's not even close."
NBC and Costas quietly ended their decade-long partnership earlier this year. NBC made a statement on the ESPN report.
"Historically, we have given our commentators plenty of room to talk about issues and controversy, and Bob has benefited most from this policy," said an NBC spokesman for CNN Business. "We are very disappointed that after 40 years with NBC, he has decided to misclassify and share these private interactions after his departure."