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Scoot: Bob Costas & the Sunday Night Football Pulpit

Veteran sportscaster and analyst Bob Costas is no stranger to using his sports stage to promote his opinions on political-oriented issues.

During the NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, Costas said this was an “appropriate time” to address the controversy over the Redskins’ name and whether it should be changed.  “Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or members of any other ethnic group.  When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait, nor could it possibly be considered a neutral term.  It’s an insult, a slur no matter how benign the present-day intent.”

By using that game as a pulpit to support changing Washington’s team name not only adds greater significance to the controversy, but spawns yet another controversy.  Should Bob Costas have invaded the homes of Americans watching a football game with his provocative opinion?
There was criticism, last December, when Costas gave a 90-second rant against guns following the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher. Costas said the more guns we have in our society the more domestic disputes will end in tragedy.  Many fans expressed outrage over a politically-charged issue suddenly becoming part of the coverage of a national sporting event that many may considered a safe haven from political controversy.

First of all, Bob Costas has a right to say whatever he wants to say.  So the question is whether or not that venue should be used to express personal commentary.  Before you answer that question, there are a few things to consider – unless being a hypocrite doesn’t matter.

Would you have applauded Bob Costas’ use of the national spotlight to express an opinion you agree with?  Bruce Springsteen is loved by millions of right-wing conservatives, but “The Boss” is a big supporter of President Obama and has not been shy about using his concert stage as a pulpit to endorse and support Obama and his policies.  Would you not go to a Springsteen concert because of the possibility that he might say positive things about President Obama?  Should music stars, like Springsteen refrain from promoting their political agendas during their shows?

If you believe Bob Costas, Bruce Springsteen and other performers should not promote their political views on stage, then would you agree that Kid Rock, Ted Nugent and countless country music stars should not use their stages to promote their conservative ideology?
The political debate in America is flooded with hypocrisy.  If you respect freedom of speech – then you MUST respect freedom to express political opinions you disagree with.  If you condemn Bob Costas for expressing his liberal views in the context of an entertainment venue, then you would have to condemn Kid Rock and the country music stars who blatantly express their conservative views.  The only way to not become a hypocrite is to believe that no celebrities should allow their political opinions to become part of an event that is not expected to have a political theme or backdrop.

But the question is – how do we prevent celebrities from injecting their political views on any public stage?  Any legislation banning the expression of political opinions during a televised event, like NBC’s Sunday Night Football, would be declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.  And any attempt to keep political messages out of entertainment events could ultimately prevent a performer singing a song with a patriotic theme or an anti-government theme.  Think back to songs that would have been prohibited during the 1960s?

Nothing can be done to censor political opinions by personalities and celebrities on national television, radio or on a rock or country music stage, so the only alternative is to simply ignore the opinions you disagree with and understand that there is no national precedent for massive numbers of Americans suddenly changing their political beliefs based on what they hear from a celebrity.  Quite often, exposure to an opinion you disagree with only reinforces your beliefs.
It is time for America to stop becoming hysterical over the fear that a celebrity is going to change the course of this country by expressing an opinion.

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Topics : Entertainment_Culture
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People : Bob CostasBruce SpringsteenJovan BelcherKid RockObamaTed Nugent

10/15/2013 7:12PM
Scoot Blog - Costas Expresses Opinion
Please Enter Your Comments Below
10/15/2013 8:23PM
Out of context
The name only "seems" to have a negative connotation because of relations between other races. I have yet to actually hear a Native American state that the name needs to be changed (This may strictly be because of my own ignorance). Oklahoma translates to "Red People." Should the state name be changed? The name "indian" has long been considered disrespectful. Should we change the state of Indiana to something else?
10/15/2013 8:24PM
My point above
My point is that I don't believe Costas' facts or interpretation of the name is correct
10/15/2013 8:34PM
redskin rant rebuttal
the name is not the contention, it is as you speak of often, one side or the other judging, then trying to shove their belief down the throat of the american people. They were braves, before redskins, neither has been problem.. till the now .. self importance of people, and not caring for one another.. only what the cause is from some self serving people.
10/15/2013 11:28PM
Scoot, your Lord and Savior Obama wants it changed. YOU MUST BOW or you
are a racist.
10/15/2013 11:31PM
The name “Obama” will go down in history as an INSULT. The name will become
a slur used to call someone arrogant or incompetent.
10/15/2013 11:33PM
Sadly, the opinion of the celebrity Obama has wrecked the health care system
and the economy ... guess hip hop celebrities can cause GREAT damage.
10/15/2013 11:36PM
Difference is Scooter Boy you trash Ted Nugent and excuse Bob Redskin Costas.
... but as long as þutt sex is legal Scooter is happy, LOL.
10/16/2013 12:02AM
Legendary Angela Hill
give me a break ! she read the news for a long time and was very good at it but a LEGEND ? Buddy D,Hap Glaude and Frank Davis are much more deserving of that title. They screwed Spud try to pick up 1350. Had to get that off my mind. Obama and the Republicans are fools, Obama is just much more dangerous. Arrogant and Incompetent are great words to describe this president. Yes Scoot, the make up of the world has changed and don't stand a chance but you and all your Obama followers will take this country to ruin. We are well on the way. Keep walking home from work and don't worry about those guys in Hoodies, tell them that your on their side and give them your money and go get a new tatoo
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