News | Olympics | Russia | Sochi Olympics | Vladimir Putin

Bob Costas: Russian Government 'Is Hostile To Gay Rights'

Bob Costas took a moment during NBC's coverage last night to comment on the state of human rights in Russia, one the first times during the Sochi Olympics wherein the network has acknowledged the issue on air.

Said the newscaster:

The Sochi games have gone much better than many feared and predicted. So far security has held fast, venues have been praised, athletes and spectators have almost unanimously cited the warmth and hospitality of their hosts. All of which is truly wonderful but should not serve to obscure a larger and more lasting truth.

While in many significant ways, Russian citizens have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, there’s is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria - and that’s just a partial list.

The Sochi games are Vladimir Putin's games, from their inception to their conclusion, and all points in between. And if they are successful on their own terms, as appears to be the case, then at least in some corners it will help to burnish the image of a regime with which much of the world takes significant issue. No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities any more than a biathlon gold medal, though hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is, can put out the fires in Kiev.

 Watch the full clip here.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. So nice of you to the end of the olympics.

    Posted by: Edd | Feb 22, 2014 7:32:38 PM

  2. " hostile to gay rights....."

    Is that it ?
    A nod in the direction of the gays.
    Are we supposed to be grateful ?

    How about a real condemnation of oppression ?
    What about a denunciation of laws which encourage or tolerate brutality against gays ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Feb 22, 2014 7:38:04 PM

  3. what were the ratings like? i've blocked nbc and msnbc.

    Posted by: ascanius1 | Feb 22, 2014 7:54:47 PM

  4. Any day now, just jump in thar Bob...

    Posted by: Patrick | Feb 22, 2014 8:21:46 PM

  5. This took some MAJOR balls to say on national television in the country that is hosting you. I applaud him. His diatribe wasn't focused only on gays, it was on the corruption of Russia and the slime that is Putin. Many people needed to hear this.

    Posted by: Cake | Feb 22, 2014 8:22:21 PM

  6. Of course NBC acknowledges it now! They couldn't say anything until the very end of the olympics for fear of insulting their hosts and pissing off the sponsors. Wouldn't want to rock the boat and have Putin kick them out or worse, take them for a drive out into the woods.

    I know everyone will now rip on Costas, but this was NBC's issue not the staff. Btw anyone living near the US/Canadian border knows CBC's coverage blows NBC out of the water. The US media critics always compare the coverage and always gives CBC high marks over NBC.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 22, 2014 8:25:05 PM

  7. CAKE - NBC didn't really go out on a limb here with that little mention. Major balls? No.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 22, 2014 8:27:26 PM

  8. BETTY - Their job is to report, not push the envelope. This was brave in my opinion.

    Posted by: Cake | Feb 22, 2014 8:30:59 PM

  9. Old people - they aren't exactly swift or relevant

    Posted by: Kev C | Feb 22, 2014 8:53:04 PM

  10. Friday nights- where news goes to die...

    Posted by: Paulie | Feb 22, 2014 9:18:41 PM

  11. Sorry we're not the center of the universe. Other countries are other countries. Considering all the hell predicted for these Olympic Games, they went off fine. Another case of gays believing they dominate the world stage.

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 9:31:59 PM

  12. Well now that they've collected their 30 pieces of silver they'll admit what was already patently obvious. We are not impressed.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Feb 22, 2014 9:32:01 PM

  13. *almost the last day of the olympics to be fair.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 22, 2014 9:38:56 PM

  14. As long as gays can censor like Towle and Russia we're all doomed.

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 9:41:14 PM

  15. Cake thinks Bob Costas is in Russia. No, he's in the NBC studios in NYC. He can be brave as he wants to be.

    Posted by: Kev C | Feb 22, 2014 9:41:28 PM

  16. As long as Russia remains "hostile" to gay rights we won't get complacent. But what about Arizona? The enemy could always be right around the corner. I'm sure Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen would be immune.

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 9:47:06 PM

  17. Apparently my first post did not go through....

    CAKE the point is they did not do their job in reporting. They waited until the olympics were practically done to point out what everyone else was reporting and everyone knew: "Oh yeah, Putin is kind of a d*ck and the government treats gay people like sh*t. We're outta here, thanks for watching!". Instead they bent over backwards (not in the good way) to not offend the Russian hosts and, more importantly, the sponsors and the IOC by not asking tough questions and doing serious reporting. In effect they did exactly what the Russians did (there are no gay people in Sochi!), pretend there was no problem and it will go away. Waiting until the last moment when there is no threat of reprisal to say something when your bags are packed and you are headed out the door doesn't take balls.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 22, 2014 9:52:51 PM

  18. NBC is a for-profit corporation. Anyone expecting them to risk their multi-million dollar Olympic investment is living in a fantasy world.

    Instead of expecting for-profit companies to suddenly morph into human rights NGOs, we should be criticizing the NGO in charge for blatantly violating their own principles. That non-profit, non-governmental organization is the International Olympic Committee.

    Posted by: alex | Feb 22, 2014 10:00:01 PM

  19. What's disappointing about the Sochi atheletes is that they could have given a nod to gay rights, they could have made some sign or statement. They could have been remembered in history for being brave and standing up for something. And yet, none did. They remind me of ambitious Enders from Enders Game, cluelessly following orders and not rocking the boat.

    Posted by: Kev C | Feb 22, 2014 10:01:18 PM

  20. BETTY - Everybody knows Putin is disgusting and that gays were being harassed and killed even before the Olympics started. What exactly did you want them to say? What would have made you happy?

    KEV C - Of course they're not going to stick their necks out. They've trained for upwards of 4-8 years to get to where they are. There are statutes for that kind of thing. The IOC prohibits any kind of protest that is politically motivated, among other things.

    Posted by: Cake | Feb 22, 2014 10:31:42 PM

  21. Did anyone see Johnny Weir moderating skating? His outfits were pure androgen. Again, this idea that the world should stop for gay rights is your pipe dream. Predictions of major upheaval just didn't materialize. Move on. If anything, the entire Olympics demonstrated how powerless gays really are.

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 10:35:43 PM

  22. Well put Alex. I really don't expect a for-profit business that spent multi millions to show the Olympics to start by telling everyone to not watch the rest because Russian is an corrupt antidemocratic antigay plutocratic regime.

    It is disappointing that someone didn't pull a Mexico City 1968 thing on the medals stand.

    Posted by: emjayay | Feb 22, 2014 10:47:12 PM

  23. CAKE: Well, if everyone already knew that then why did what Bob Costas said take "major balls" since we already knew it? Old story then right? My point: major balls if they said it sooner and with more gusto.

    Blake: do you get paid by the word?

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 22, 2014 10:48:41 PM

  24. BETTY - What difference does it make, then, when they say it? It wasn't about the words they were using, it was a slap in Putin's face.

    Posted by: Cake | Feb 22, 2014 11:01:33 PM

  25. Cake, I'm not talking about protests but showing positive support. The Olympics isn't about the IOC or Russia, it's about the athletes .. who are just lame idiots with no balls at all. Dickless wonderkids hoping to be bland and forgetable.

    Posted by: Kev C | Feb 22, 2014 11:15:22 PM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «First Marriages Take Place in Chicago, Cook County« «