NBC sportscaster Bob Costas says he has no regrets about speaking out on hot-button political issues.
Over the past year and a half, Costas has attracted criticism from conservatives for using his sports broadcasting platform to call for stricter gun control laws, to portray Russian President Vladimir Putin as a great peacemaker and to condemn the Washington Redskins’ team name as “a slur.”
“I think we live in a culture where people who are angry are more apt to weigh in or people who have an extreme view are more apt to weigh in,” Costas told Seth Meyers on NBC’s “Late Night” Thursday morning. “And they have more ways than ever to do it. And people who approve of it or like it say,’Hey, that was good’ when they see you on the street, you know?”
“So the only thing I would emphasize, and it would seem to me that this is obvious, I’m not talking about Syria or the national debt, I’m talking about whatever may occasionally come up that is directly connected to sports,” he continued. “How the name of the Washington Redskins isn’t a football issue, I have no idea.”
Costas even challenged gun-rights supporters to a bet.
“Here’s what I would say to anybody who any time they hear the word guns automatically goes off, like, ‘Oh, they’re going to repeal the Second Amendment,’” he said. “Let’s make a bet, you and me. Let’s say over the next five years — we’ll do a Google search, we’ll have an independent party monitor it — you keep track of how many good and constructive things are associated with athletes having a gun, and I’ll keep track of all the tragedies and criminality and folly. And let’s see who comes out ahead or behind as the case may be. These things are directly connected.”