Please disregard any residual vitriol that might stain this letter, for I’m just one more representative of the hateful vermin that crawl will-nilly through the blogosphere, one more pathetic, get-a-life loser.
But, Bob, I’m worried about you.
Somewhere along the line, you evolved from one of America’s most perspicacious, informed observers of the sports world to the self-appointed watchdog for the true spirit of athletic competition.
I don’t watch a lot of TV, so I’m not sure when or how this occurred. But there seems little doubt that it’s happened, Bob.
I’m sure you’ve never intended this. It’s likely you have no idea that you’ve gone from welcome living-room guest to insufferable panjandrum, as our powers of insight can weaken significantly when we turn our gaze upon ourselves.
If you’re not teaming with an apoplectic Buzz Bissinger to assail the vulgarity of bloggers, Bob, you’re coming down on Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt for his world-record performance in the 100 meters in Beijing.
Again, I didn’t see your commentary, so maybe it’s a little unfair of me to reference this latest example of your growing priggishness. I gather you found Bolt’s short-of-the-finish-line exuberance disrespectful to fellow competitors and fans alike, not to mention the righteous poobahs of the corporate media colossus.
Really, Bob? Aren’t you better than this?
You sit amid a global marketing circus put on by the shamefully hypocritical International Olympic Committee and hosted by a totalitarian government desperately trying to rein in its burgeoning population of 1.3 billion, and this is the best you can come up with for a morality play?
A little showboating on the way to … an Olympic gold medal and world record?
Even in the unlikely event, as at least one person suggested, that Bolt slowed his pace for financial reasons, does this really make him an apt subject for your ire?
You’re not listening, are you, Bob?
You serve at the pleasure of NBC Universal, which is part of an $800 billion godzilla called General Electric, one of the the world’s great manufacturers of military hardware and other assorted instruments of widespread death, and you’re vilifying a Jamaican sprinter for celebrating prior to the finish line in a race he won?
Have you lost your sense of perspective, Bob?
I know there might be some logical fallacy here, Bob, implying that somehow your hands are dirty just because NBC pays you an heiress’ ransom for the rental of your wit and wisdom.
But you know what the ancients said about little men in glass houses, right?
Instead of turning your finely honed rapier on Usain Bolt, Bob, you might’ve apologized to your audience for burying the 100 meters in your coverage. Perhaps if an American runner had won the race, this might not have been so. I hate to accuse you or your paymasters at NBC of having a provincial outlook, but I’m going to have to do it anyway.
I digress, Bob. I didn’t set out to wallow in negativity and meanness. I simply wanted to give you a heads-up, hoping there’s a slim chance you might turn back from your course and rediscover a little humility along the way.
Because, Bob, I am sorry.
It’s just sad, Bob Costas as Little General (sorry for gratuitous reference to your stature), overlord of all that is good in sport and grand inquisitor of all that might corrupt.
Perhaps it’s not too late, Bob.
I know you’re a student of history, Bob, so I’ll leave you with that oft-quoted, cautionary warning given to us by Lord Acton.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
Tread carefully, Bob.