Did Bob Costas Step In It?

With his anti-gun commentary during Sunday Night Football, did Bob Costas create an unnecessary firestorm for himself?

My opinion stems not from anything to do with the 2nd Amendment. These thoughts are purely grounded in broadcast philosophy - rooted in the teachings of Marty Glickman, who was a close friend and mentor to Bob Costas.

I believe, as did Marty, that viewers tune in to watch a game. They don’t tune in to hear a broadcaster, or for something other than that specific sporting event. While talk-show hosts deal with a completely different set of dynamics, a play by play broadcaster’s job is to describe and complement the game. The same holds true, although admittedly with a bit more flexibility, for a halftime studio host.

Mentioning a major NFL story is one thing. Devoting a larger portion of the broadcast to it is quite another. Even during a Sunday Night Football telecast, fans are tuned in for the game, rather than the roundup of weekly NFL news.

If a viewer/consumer is tuned to the game, that is what he deserves. Especially today, in an age where you can access any content on demand, the specific niche should cater to the specific viewer. Agree or disagree with Costas’ ideological point (and I do have an opinion), this is neither the time nor place to dwell on matters not related to this game. Viewers can find this discussion elsewhere, in hundreds of places. Fans watch sports for the sole purpose of escaping real life its weightier issues.

Valuable broadcast air time should be spent focusing on that event. Don’t spend time discussing associated sporting or worldly events. Not the game across town, and not the news. That is not why the viewer tuned in. In spending so much time on a league topic, Bob Costas inserted himself into the story and created an unnecessary distraction for football fans and viewers.

What would you do if you were in his shoes?
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