This Nov. 17, 2010 file photo shows sports commentator Bob Costas at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights 2010 Ripple of Hope Awards Dinner at Pier Sixty in New York. Costas' “Sunday Night Football” halftime commentary supporting gun control sparked a Fox News Channel debate Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, on whether NBC should fire him. The NBC sportscaster, who frequently delivers commentary at halftime of the weekly NFL showcase, addressed the weekend's murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher.
Photograph by: Evan Agostini, AP
Items that may grow up to be columns, Vol. XIV, Chapter 8:
UNREALITY SHOW -- Should we be surprised that the Tea Party lunatics who populate the airwaves at Fox News have compared Bob Costas’s discussion of gun control on Sunday Night Football to racist comments that got MSNBC’s Don Imus and ESPN’s football theme song pedlar, Hank Williams Jr., fired?
Nope, we should not. It’s their shtick, and they know their constituents.
The mere mention of America’s gun culture by the NBC host during halftime of Sunday’s NFL telecast got the Foxites’ undies in a great, big knot.
Imus, you may recall, was axed for referring to Rutgers’ women’s basketball team as “nappy headed hos” and Williams for likening President Obama to Hitler. Costas’s crime? He opined that if Kansas City linebacker Jovan Belcher hadn’t had a handgun at his fingertips, an argument with his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins might not have escalated into murder-suicide -- he shot her nine times, according to Sports Illustrated -- leaving their three-month-old daughter Zoey an orphan.
You can see the similarities. Odious remarks with racial overtones on one hand, and an articulate opinion on a contentious societal issue on the other. The whack-jobs at Fox don’t get the distinction. They only know that their mandate is to be pro-guns, ergo Costas is The Enemy, and ought to be fired.
Guest panelist Lars Larson closed the Fox screed with this pronouncement: “Maybe if she'd owned a firearm, she'd still be alive today."
American political discussion. It makes your head hurt.
BOB AND WEAVE -- Costas, meanwhile, has made a few selected appearances on TV shows to elaborate on his halftime essay and “clarify” his position. It’s kind of sad he feels the need to do that. Asking “why does a private citizen really need an assault weapon?” shouldn’t require subtitles.
p.s. - Belcher had eight guns, including an assault rifle or two. In case of burglars.
PROCRASTINATION STATION -- The years-long wrangle over who owns, operates and pays for the new stadium in Ottawa, finally settled, is starting to look like the norm in Canadian Football League cities.
Winnipeg’s new ballpark failed to open as scheduled this season after a series of delays, and now -- with ancient Ivor Wynne slated for the wrecking ball so that a (mostly) new structure can be built on the same site -- it turns out Hamilton’s protracted rannygazoo over the location and design of the soccer venue for the 2015 Pan-Am Games (and Ticats’ eventual home) isn’t over yet, either.
There’s not a lot of wiggle room left with the Games happening 31 months from now, but it appears the design of the stadium and accompanying civic plaza doesn’t comply with the standards set out by the city over a year ago -- and a significant re-working of the plans will have to take place before construction can begin. Say, maybe they can hold the Pan-Ams in 2016, and bump the Summer Olympics back to 2017, because ...
BLAME IT ON RIO -- In other “the dog ate my homework” news, the Rio de Janiero organizing committee for the 2016 Olympics has received an unusually sharp cattle-prod to the hindquarters from the IOC, owing to slow progress toward completion of sports venues.
You would think seven years’ notice would be sufficient, but after three consecutive Games in Beijing, Vancouver and London without a significant deadline problem -- and the Russians aren’t about to drop the ball for Sochi 2014, with all that’s at stake image-wise -- the IOC was probably due for one like Athens or Turin, where completion of facilities went right down to the wire.
"Our message remains: There is time, but time is ticking, and they need to carry on attacking this one with all vigor," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
Among Brazil’s unfinished (or unstarted) venues is the golf course, land for which is still the subject of a legal dispute.
WANNA GO? -- Of the 18 players the NHLPA sent in to face six owners in Tuesday’s collective bargaining initiative in New York, there was only one goalie (Buffalo’s Ryan Miller) and one defenceman (Winnipeg’s Ron Hainsey). No wonder the owners find them offensive.
The other 16 were forwards, their most notable feature being the amount of muscle sent in to mix it up with the suits: George Parros, Jamal Mayers, B.J. Crombeen, Kevin Westgarth, David Backes, Shane Doan et al.
With so many players, someone wondered if they would go into the room in shifts. Well (said the wiseguy), dress was optional, but the recommended code was business casual.
THREE-DOT CITY -- So Adam Scott, possibly the man whose career was most drastically improved by switching to the long, broomstick-style putter, is already playing with a slightly shorter implement, using a claw-type grip but not anchoring the butt of the club. He’s smart to experiment with changes during golf’s silly season ... Keegan Bradley, on the other hand, says he intends to keep using the belly putter until the rules forbid it, starting Jan. 1, 2016. The amount of money he’s making with the long blade, he can probably afford to retire by then. Or even right now ... Make of this what you will, I’ll just lob it out there: the 8,000th follower of my Twitter account is @like_poop, but that’s just his Twitter handle. The full name is “i like poop.” It appears my dog Radar has learned to type.
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