Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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December 5, 2012

Did Costas overstep his bounds with gun comments?

(Continued)

Technology has leveled the playing field (so to speak) for distributing opinions and ideas to the world. Granted, most people don't have 20 million listeners at their command, as Costas did Sunday. But everyone can post a comment on any topic that, via social media, can reach a global audience.

Consumer feedback is solicited by media outlets and other organizations around the clock. A public forum for opinions that can span the world is guaranteed anyone in reach of a Wi-Fi connection.

And yet, in an era when widespread opining is deemed our basic human right, an opinion that is often leveled at others for doing so is "You should shut up!"

With that in mind, much debate surrounding Costas' commentary has sought to tease out a distinction between acceptable opinion and opinions that are out of bounds.

It's been said that politics and religion don't mix. But the response to Costas' commentary suggests that, for many within earshot, sports are even more sacred.

By this argument, a fractious world of partisan politics and cultural clashes has no place in the football sanctuary. Sports should be a refuge from life's harsher truths, a comfort zone for a special brand of clashing between rival teams. Here, Red State/Blue State differences can take a break and unite for a red-white-and-blue brand of partisanship.

So when politics encroaches on sports, it inevitably makes some fans queasy. Or livid.

Just recall President Jimmy Carter's controversial decision that the United States would boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, two U.S. athletes raised a black-gloved fist in a black power salute during the medal ceremony. The two African-American athletes were expelled from the Games.

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