I’m already on the record for taking NBC’s Bob Costas to task for being a cranky old man who is out of touch with the modern world. West Coast Craig also alluded to this last Monday.
Sanctimonious whining now seems de rigueur during Costas’ weekly halftime pieces for Sunday Night Football. Last Sunday’s was typical: his bland commentary expressed itself in some self-righteous finger-wagging at the “knucklehead” players whose excessive celebrations sometimes draw a penalty flag. Insert long, heavy sigh here.
It’s like listening to grandpa complain about how players don’t need to be wearing wrist bands, what are those wrist bands for anyway, they’re just showing off!
I mean, not my grandpa. My grandpa was cool. Came to this country when he was about 13, worked his whole life as a painter (buildings, not canvasses), and probably woulda blown a big puff of cigar smoke in Costas’ face. No, it’s like listening to someone else’s half-demented, a$$hole grandpa. The kind of grandpa who wasn’t worth listening to when he was a younger man either, but instead of prattling on about how we all need to invest in gold, or why he doesn’t like the way his wife bakes the Cornish game hens, they’re too dry, now I gotta listen to him talk about how the pills that help his urine flow better make his mouth dry, and isn’t that ironic.
It’s exhausting. Please, just stop talking and go to bed, Mr. Someone Else’s Grandpa.
But on top of the usual tripe, there was what I found to be some genuine discomfort when during the pre-game show Costas interviewed Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown, two up and coming wide receivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace (25) and Brown (23) are both quite young, and neither have much experience with the national media, or could be described as exceptionally articulate. So the usual fluff questions were met with some shy mumbling and nervous giggles.
However, Wallace and Brown made non-verbal statements with their clothing; they apparently coordinated to some degree, both of them wearing eye-catching black/white outfits. Brown in particular popped with a black suit that featured a sliver lining along the blazer’s lapel. For some reason, Costas decided to end the interview with a battery of snide questions and snickering comments about Brown’s outfit. And it felt wrong.
I’m probably making too much of it, but watching an old white guy, who at this point is popularly perceived as being a bit out of touch and having a major league stick up his ass, spend a little too much time making fun of a young black man’s nominally flashy suit, left me wondering if it were really the 21st century.
Maybe Costas did nothing wrong, perhaps the only thing this essay really reveals are my own racial hangups and my increasingly irrational hostility towards a minor pop culture icon. But that’s okay, right? I mean, it’s been over thirty years now and I think we’re all past the point of needing a reason to be sick of Bob Costas, right? I’m sick of Bob Costas.