Bob Costas, the Greek-American sports broadcasting legend, revealed that NBC pulled him from its coverage of last year’s Super Bowl because he publicly criticized the sport’s safety.
Costas, 66, said in Sunday’s episode of ESPN’s “E:60” interview show that NBC leadership told him he wasn’t allowed to host the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots because he criticized the safety of football.
— ESPN (@espn) February 10, 2019
Costas had made his initial remarks on the issue in November of 2017 while speaking at a symposium in Maryland, saying at the time that football “destroys people’s brains.”
“Not everyone, but a substantial number,” he added. “That’s the fundamental fact of football, and that to me is the biggest story in American sports.”
After Costas’ comments, a spokesperson for NBC Sports released a statement saying that Costas’ “opinions are his own, and they do not represent those of the NBC Sports Group.”
Weeks before the 2018 Super Bowl, Costas had told Sports Business Daily that the choice for him not to cover NBC’s pregame show was “mutually agreeable.” He added, “Not only do I not have a problem with it, I am actually happy about it.”
Costas has worked at NBC since 1979 and hosted some of the biggest sporting events in the world, including numerous Super Bowls, Olympic Games, World Series, NBA Finals, Triple Crown horse races, and many more.
He was born in Queens, New York City, and grew up in Commack, New York. He is the son of Jayne Quinlan, who is of Irish descent, and John George Costas, an electrical engineer of Greek descent. His father’s ancestry can be traced back to the island of Kalymnos in the Aegean Sea off the eastern coast of Greece.