People love arguing. More than that, people love winning arguments.
Efforts to win arguments often nudge people towards tactics other than debating the actual points at hand. People get mad about the credibility of the other person or whether they even have a right to have that opinion in the first place. It gets personal fast. You might hear these kinds of questions:
How can you say that now when you’ve said (this, this, and this) in the past? That doesn’t add up. You’re not making sense.
What, you think you’re allowed to change your mind? Never! You’re contradicting yourself!
Who are you to say?
Opinions about people having opinions. Just watch First Take (at your own risk) if you don’t know what I’m talking about. People spend so much time poking holes in the position from which the other person is arguing that they seem to forget what the debate was even about in the first place.
Such is the context of Bob Costas’s decision to discuss the Washington Redskins name on Sunday Night Football this week.
Hmm…I’ll need my finest and most pretentious suit and tie combo for this one, please.
Look. I actually like Bob Costas and I don’t think it’s a bad thing that NBC Sports features him on numerous platforms. But he has to know that this isn’t going to play well. A lot of people don’t want to hear about this topic at all, let alone from him. It’s not the first time he’s gone a controversial route with this platform.
I don’t presume to know what goes through Costas’s mind, but I’m guessing that he would like to engage in conversations about these serious topics in which we can focus on the issues at hand and not attack one another personally, obsess over the position from which the other person is arguing, poke holes in the semantics of what has been said, and otherwise obscure the heart of the matter. What he seems to be missing is that by taking these issues to the halftime shows of NFL games, he is moving away from that type of conversation. A lot of people don’t want to hear it from him and they don’t want to hear it when he’s saying it.
The Bob Costas Lecture series…it’s just not working, man. It’s not that Costas doesn’t have good insights to offer, it’s just that he needs to find another time and place to offer them, especially in the contentious climate of 2013.