Bob Costas says he lost his job co-hosting the Super Bowl on NBC last year after the network told him he “crossed the line,” a teaser for an upcoming “E:60” report from ESPN shows.
“I remember being told that now I can no longer host the Super Bowl,” Costas says in the trailer that was released Friday. It goes on to narrate that the veteran play-by-play sportscaster reveals in Sunday’s show how and why “his tortured relationship with football came to an unexpected end.”
“I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,'” Costas said. “And my thought was, what line have I crossed?”
"What line did I cross?" – Bob Costas pic.twitter.com/WeEsUyLT3K
— E:60 (@E60) February 8, 2019
Although the teaser doesn’t explicitly mention why Costas was let go, he has, on multiple occasions, called attention to the brain damage players suffer during and after their careers.
In an appearance on “Real Time” with Bill Maher in September 2017, Costas said the NFL “is fundamentally brutal and violent,” even considering new rules that look to make the game safer.
Costas said the brain trauma would continue “unless they come up with some as yet unimagined technology that improves helmets to the point where it doesn’t just protect against a skull fracture but it protects the brain from rattling around inside the skull — like a pickle inside a jar.” He then compared the game to the “Roman circus, where people watch it but they don’t let their kids play it.”
Months later at the University of Maryland, Costas said “this game destroys people’s brains.”
Costas spent nearly 40 years with NBC before mutually agreeing to leave the network in January. He was expected to co-host Super Bowl LII in February 2018, but Liam McHugh and Dan Patrick were instead announced as the show’s hosts.
Before leaving NBC, Costas had touched on other controversial topics during his time on Sunday Night Football. He discussed gun control on-air in 2012 following a murder-suicide by Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher — something he said later was a “mistake” to mention during the broadcast.
The “E:60” interview with Costas will air Sunday at 9 a.m. ET.