Costas Invokes Jackie Robinson to Defend Himself Against Redskins Criticism
After he said the Redskins name was "an insult" and "a slur" on NBC's Sunday Night Football broadcast, Bob Costas said only an "extreme fringe" was upset with his remarks and implied those who criticize him would have also criticized those who supported Jackie Robinson's attempts to desegregate Major League Baseball in 1947.
Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, Costas said though he was not "comparing myself to any of those who crusaded for a worthy cause," he was sure that "people said if someone wrote in a New York newspaper in 1947, or prior to that, saying it’s wrong that there are not black players in Major League Baseball — stick to sports."
"Tell me who hit the ground ball to short. Don’t talk about Tommie Smith and John Carlos and their clenched fists. Don’t talk about what Billie Jean King has to say," Costas said. "Don’t talk about any of these issues. Just tell me who won the game. There are people that are gonna say that. But very often, sports inevitably has intersected with issues that appear, to some extent, to be outside the field. And on some occasions, sports has actually been the best vehicle for discussing these issues, because sports cuts across so many demographic lines."