Bob Costas Would Steer Son Away from Playing Football

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2013

One of the sporting world's biggest voices has taken a stand against football.

NBC's well-known broadcaster spoke out against the dangers of the sport on Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast:

Costas was specifically asked if he would allow his kids to play the sport and was vehemently against the idea (h/t Fox Sports' Sam Gardner):

I’d tell them no. I know that goes viral tomorrow. … I know many, many thoughtful people in football … who believe the stereotype that we think we’ve got coming out of the Dolphins locker room, very thoughtful people where football has shaped their lives in a positive way, so I’m not going to paint everyone with a broad brush.

Maybe the better answer is: Be advised of the extreme dangers, know what you’re getting into. But let me put it this way: If it were my son and he was 13 years old and had reasonable athletic ability, I would encourage him to play baseball, or to play basketball or to play soccer or something other than football.

Costas is a legendary broadcaster for NBC and appears on Sunday Night Football each week as a studio host. In other words, his head-turning comments come with plenty of credibility and are of note.

At a time when the NFL is subject to much scrutiny for its violent collisions and the impacts on the human body, Costas is the latest to speak out on the sport as a whole. 

Costas is seemingly not alone in his sentiments. Pop Warner, the country's largest youth football program, has seen a 9.5 percent drop in participation over the course of the 2010-2012 seasons. This marks a total loss of 23,612 players, per numbers provided to ESPN's Outside the Lines.

ESPN's report goes on to state that the timing of the drop in participation alarmingly coincides with discoveries of the impact the violent game can potentially cause and subsequent investigations:

The downward trends in youth football participation coincide with a series of ominous reports about football and brain damage in the NFL. In 2005, the first of dozens of confirmed cases of former NFL players with neurodegenerative disease was reported. In 2009, Congress held hearings on the NFL's long-standing efforts to conceal the connection between concussions and mental illness. In 2010, a league spokesman acknowledged for the first time a connection between concussions and "long-term problems."

The Sunday Night Football host is far from the only noteworthy person to speak out against the game. President Obama himself spoke out against violence in football in January.

As a spokesperson of the NFL itself, Costas is likely not the most popular person in the league at the moment. Then again, he's never had any issues speaking honestly to an audience about controversial subjects in the past.

Costas most recently made headlines for speaking out on the controversy surrounding the name of the Washington Redskins:

With his name back in the spotlight once more, Costas has again attached himself to a crusade he feels passionately about.

While youth football is likely not going the way of the dinosaur any time soon, a major name such as Costas speaking out is a positive sign in the quest to make the game more safer all levels.

 

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