Costas on the Ball

I know we are all tired of the Costas NOW program and the assertions of Buzz Bissinger and others about the state of sports media.   But please indulge me one more reference.

I happened to be listening to the radio early Saturday morning when I came upon Costas on the Radio, Bob Costas’ weekly radio venture.  He began the show by once again bringing up some points that he’s stated both on his HBO program and in other publications.  And the more I hear what he has to say the more I wholeheartedly agree.

He began by talking about how he was tuned into sports radio in St. Louis and the callers were viciously attacking Cardinals’ releiver Jason Isringhausen, to the point that the host said he was ashamed of the medium of sports talk radio.  That’s when Costas said the following:

“It’s not about the Internet or new technology or new media, it’s about this tone, and this approach wherever it’s found.  And it’s the tone of mindless, mean-spirited, ad homonym attacks and abuse, which more and more are part of general culture.  Politics we’ll talk about another time.  But in this case we’re talking about sports in particular.  You almost get the feeling with each passing day that sports is more and more the province of louts, bullies, cretins and creeps…that you can’t be a reasonable person and still be a sports fan.”

Costas then proceeded to talk about how youngsters, who become entrenched in team rivalries, get caught up in perpetrating the negative tone…

“It’s this atmosphere…you find it on sports talk radio, you find it, regrettably, along with all the good stuff, you find it regrettably on the blogs. You find it more and more in print because it’s seeped into the mainstream media.  This attitude not just of smarminess, but of flat-out abuse.  Where what’s fair or what’s true or what a reasonable person ought to want to say, either publically or privately, is right out the window.  And we just say anything we want… anyway we want… about anybody or anything.”  

Costas finally talked about the Sports Illustrated article dealing with abusive fans at sporting events and the comments about such by Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo.  He then finished his remarks…

“Is this really what we became sports fans for?  Is this really what it has to be?  Is it really just for louts, and creeps, and bullies and cretins?  I hope not.”

I could not have said it better myself.  And for those of you ready to jump down Costas’ throat, he did not say anything about infinging on people’s Freedom of Specch or that we should get rid of all blogs. 

As I have said already, despite Bissinger’s irrational tone, his point about how this type of content is the future of sports journalism troubles me…and possibly Costas, greatly.

You can hear Costas’ yourself from his May 24th-25th radio broadcast here.

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0 comments

  1. I agree with Bob. I hate the “talk radio” vibe that some blogs operate by. Because long before blogs came along, callers were spouting venom on the radio. And it all comes down to that nice anonymity that allows people to put on a persona that the majority of people never display in public.

  2. Costas did not know the simple basic difference between commenters on a blog and the author of a blog. Should we really listen to his opinion on the new media and sports blogs?

    Are people really more mean now than other generations? Or does better technology make it seem that way?

    It is hard for me to believe that sports fans in the 60s-90s were not be just as vicious as they are today.

    Jim Brown, Hank Aaron, and Bill Russell are just three sports figures off the top of my head who might agree with me.

  3. Whoever is transcribing the broadcasts needs to work on their idioms. “Ad HOMINEM” is what Costas meant, a Latin phrase basically meaning to the person, to the body. Interestingly, homonym is a homonym for hominem.

    I don’t like the talk radio culture, so I don’t listen. I do like blogs, so I do read them. Maybe I’m oversimplifying it, but the best thing to do to help stymie that culture is to vote with your ears and eyeballs.

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