DISPATCH FROM THE MULTIVERSE — In a shocking turn of events Sunday evening, Bob Costas took responsibility for the role he played in the tragic murder-suicide that roiled the NFL this weekend. Taking to his soapbox on Sunday Night Football’s halftime show, Costas highlighted the role that football’s brutal culture played in the murder of a young mother and the suicide of one of its players. Here’s Costas:
BOB COSTAS: Well, you knew it was coming. In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in Kansas City, that most mindless of sports clichés was heard yet again: Something like this really puts it all in perspective. Well, if so, that sort of perspective has a very short shelf-life since we will inevitably hear about the perspective we have supposedly again regained the next time ugly reality intrudes upon our games. Please, those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this? Well, a bit of it comes from the sports blog Deadspin, which had this to say about the role football played in the day’s tragic events.
“In email messages sent to us,” Deadspin wrote, “the friend described Belcher as a young man whipsawed between football-related head trauma and ongoing substance abuse, and the source speculated that a ‘combination of alcohol, concussions, and prescription drugs,’ mixed with domestic problems, led to Belcher’s murder of Perkins and his subsequent suicide.”
Football greatly enhances our Sundays, but at what cost? The injuries suffered by our modern-day gladiators exacerbate their flaws, tempt the concussed to escalate injuries, and bait our brain-damaged behemoths to lash out at those closest to them. We have seen a rash of suicides in recent years as football players have sustained more and more brain damage. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s access to guns will be analyzed. Who knows what role that played?
But here is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t play football, he and Kassandra Perkins would both be alive today. I would like to apologize for the role I played in causing this tragedy and hereby announce my resignation from the staff of Sunday Night Football, a multi-billion dollar enterprise that earns me and my friends untold millions in salary.
Good for Bob Costas. Sometimes you think that these millionaire talking heads aren’t willing to accept responsibility for the role they have played in ruining the lives of those they cover. But then a guy like Bob Costas comes along, refuses to pass the buck, and says “Hey, I’ve been profiting off of ruining the lives of entire generations of athletes. I’m sorry.” It’s touching, in a way.