- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sports broadcaster Bob Costas was removed from NBC’s coverage of last year’s Super Bowl as punishment for publicly criticizing the safety of football, Costas told ESPN.

“I remember being told that now I can no longer host the Super Bowl,” Costas said in a companion piece for “E:60” that aired Sunday. “I think the words were, ‘You crossed the line.’ And my thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?’”

Though he spoke out about concussions and brain injury in football throughout the 2010s, Costas made waves in 2017 at a symposium at the University of Maryland, when he said that “the reality is that this game destroys people’s brains.”

Costas said he previously had agreed with NBC that Super Bowl LII in 2018 would be his last involvement in football, but that the network eventually reached out and told him he would be removed from their Super Bowl coverage.

Costas did not accuse the league of orchestrating his ouster from football coverage, and an NFL spokesperson told ESPN that it had nothing to do with it. But the implication was that networks are nervous to offend the league in case it leaves them hanging during the next broadcast rights negotiations.

“The networks, all of them, dance to the NFL’s tune. Everyone walks on eggshells around the NFL,” Costas said.

Costas always believed there was a time and a place he could insert his opinions during broadcasts. While working on “Sunday Night Football,” he delivered halftime essays that occasionally covered topics like gun control and the Washington Redskins name controversy.

In 2015, he wanted to deliver a commentary about “Concussion,” the movie starring Will Smith about CTE in football. NBC spiked it.

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