Bob Costas has proven there is something more annoying than Hollywood celebrities sounding off on political issues. Now I can comfortably say that sportscasters commenting on tragedies are the most annoying thing, particularly when they are both flat-out wrong and stupid. I’ve said it of Hollywood types before as well as singers and other entertainers and now I can add sportscasters to the list of people from whom I don’t want an opinion on anything except that for which they are being paid to discuss.
There are actors and actresses, singers and performers that I find unwatchable because I know too much about their personal lives or their beliefs. I’m not talking about religion, except in the case of Tom Cruise; I truly don't care what someone's personal beliefs are unless they are trying to ram them down my throat. Cruise is a special example, and I won’t see a movie if he is the star, though I did enjoy seeing him in Tropic Thunder. That was mostly because other than the fat suit I think we saw more of the real Tom Cruise than at any other time, except maybe for his Oprah couch jumping stunt.
It’s not that I have anything against Scientologists. When I bother to think of them, which is rarely, I mostly don’t care. The proof that I don’t hold adherence to that quasi-religion against someone is that I will see a movie because John Travolta is in it. Here I have to issue the disclaimer that I was not a Travolta fan back in the day of Welcome Back Kotter and Saturday Night Fever. He is one of those actors that has gotten both better and better looking with age. That scrawny little-boy body never did it for me, even when I was a teenager and doing the boogie on my roller skates.
It’s only been in the past half-dozen years that I’ve become a real football fan. I would always choose to watch the Bears whenever they played, on the basis of supporting the home team. Now, I will clear my schedule to watch the Bears as well as choose to watch football over most other things on TV, regardless of who is playing. Bob Costas, you may have well just ruined this new found love for me.
I won’t ever again be able to see your face without seething. It’s not just that you are an idiot and your little speech was both wrong-headed and completely divorced from reality, it’s that you dared to think your opinion on this subject is worthy of national airtime. Football is America’s favorite game, in part because for a few hours we can watch a contest and forget everything else going on in the world. While the players are fighting over inches, we are completely absorbed.
Remember what it meant for the New Orleans Saints to play in the Superdome after Katrina? This was America’s game exemplifying the American spirit. For a few hours, we all stood with New Orleans in pride that a place that so recently filled with fear, desperation and misery was now overflowing with joy at how far the city had come and with hope for a future that just months earlier seemed impossible to imagine. This suspension from reality, however brief, is what football is supposed to do, why millions watch, cheer and boo every hit, every throw, every inch of ground gained or lost. While the game is being played out, we can forget that we live in a world filled with unfairness, a world where there is no referee to throw a flag and instantly punish those who do us wrong.
From now on Bob Costas, keep your opinions on anything that happens outside the world of sports to yourself. We don’t care what you think, and you were better off when we didn’t know what you think.