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GreekReporter.comDiasporaBob Costas Rips IOC, Beijing in Runup To Olympics

Bob Costas Rips IOC, Beijing in Runup To Olympics

Bob Costas
Veteran Greek-American broadcaster Bob Costas let it all hang out on CNN Tonight last week, blasting the IOC and the NBA for their kid-glove handling of China despite its history of human rights abuses. Credit: Wikipedia/Public Domain

During an appearance on CNN Tonight with Michael Smerconish last week, veteran Olympics broadcaster and Greek-American journalist Bob Costas ripped the International Olympic Committee for what he called its “affinity for authoritarian nations.”

Costas also pointed out the hypocrisy of some figures in the NBA for their reluctance to criticize China for its human rights abuses, claiming that they were afraid to do so because of the country’s long purse strings and its ability to censor their games there.

The beloved Greek-American journalist, who brought the Olympics into American homes for 26 years and 11 Games before his partial retirement in 2019, mentioned American football player Colin Kaepernick and basketball megastar LeBron James by name for their unwillingness to step on China’s toes because of their lucrative sneaker deals with Nike, which has extensive manufacturing facilities in China.

Bob Costas rips IOC for alleged “Affinity for authoritarian nations”

Costas castigated “the likes of Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James” who make millions off their shoes and somehow, despite their nearly constant commentating on rights issues in the United States, say nothing against the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese state.

Originally planning to speak about President Biden’s decision to stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, Costas recalled the long history of Olympic boycotts, asking rhetorically “One of the big questions now that you can’t evade is, what is it with the IOC and their affinity for authoritarian nations?

“There will be an Olympics – a summer Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles. It will have been since 2002, when the Winter games were in Salt Lake, since there has been an Olympics on American soil — and yet American television is the single greatest source of revenue for the IOC.”

The longtime broadcaster stated that this situation was easily explained, saying “Many IOC delegates remain ticked off at the U.S. because a free press blew the cover off the Salt Lake City bidding scandal.

“Mitt Romney had to come in and set the thing straight. The whole thing was up in the air. Whole thing might have fallen apart. They have long memories about this stuff, and the IOC and many of those delegates act in a high-handed way. And in that sense, you can see where the affinity for authoritarian nations comes in.”

It was Smerconish who brought up the NBA and its extensive ties to China, but Costas unloaded on that organization as well. “I have to believe there are guys holding their breath watching this because if this is sufficient grounds for this to be a diplomatic boycott, then what does it say about the NBA doing business in China?” the CNN host asked.

NBA “Up to its neck in China”

“The NBA is up to its neck in China,” Costas declared, recalling that China had pulled game broadcasts of Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics after members of the teams had spoken out against what was going on in the country.

“Back a couple years ago when Daryl Morey, then the GM of the Houston Rockets – tweeted: “Stand with Hong Kong,” Rockets games were suddenly off the air for an extended period in China. And the Rockets are one of the most popular teams there.”

Costas then mentioned “the likes of Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James,” whose sneakers are allegedly made in Chinese sweatshops. “And those outspoken individuals — and in many cases, I think millions of Americans would agree with their positions on domestic issues — are conspicuously mum when it comes to China,” he said.

“China is a huge sports market,” he admitted, adding “Basketball is especially popular there. But they will put up with not even the slightest criticism. They reject it out of hand, and when they can, some of it may just be saber rattling like saying today the U.S. will pay the price for their wrongdoings. But to the extent they can, they exact a price.

“More recently, Enes Kanter (Freedom), who grew up in Turkey… spoke out against China. Same thing. Celtic games (snaps fingers) like that, gone,” Costas commented before adding “I guarantee you that the feed of this conversation is gone in China right now.

Costas concluded by saying “And no matter what the issues are here — and they’re serious issues — in terms of dimension, they pale alongside what’s going on in China.”

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