Costas Steps Up

One of my favorite sportscasters has always been NBC's Bob Costas.

In addition to being a top play-by-play man, he's also always been unafraid to express his opinion on subjects other people might not be willing to touch.

So I was delighted, if not surprised, to see Costas step up and announce that he plans to pay a small tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics when NBC broadcasts the Opening Ceremony from London this weekend.

What makes Costas' decision necessary is the International Olympic Committee's decision not to hold a moment of silence to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the killings.

It's a decision that was solely the IOC's. The UK organizers of the games said they were willing to hold a moment of silence, but the IOC overruled them. The White House, Congress and the governments of Germany and Canada are among those who have called for the IOC to do something during the Opening Ceremony, but those calls are being ignored.

IOC President Jacques Rogge wrote: "The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions." He said that "within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away".

Actually, the whole point of the moment of silence is to make sure that the massacre doesn't fade away, but Rogge seems incapable of understanding that. The IOC held a moment of silence earlier this week at a small event attended by 100 people.

Since the Opening Ceremony lasts four or five hours, I fail to understand the purpose of not extending it by 30 seconds.

Worse, the IOC makes itself look more terrible by letting this drag out and come under more and more criticism.

Some have written that the IOC doesn't want to upset the dozen Arab countries that are represented during the Games, especially in the wake of current Middle East tensions.

But that fails to recognize that we live in an age of terrorism -- not just terrorism by Islamic extremists, but all sorts. Unfortunately, Americans were reminded of that last Friday at the premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado.

At the end of the day, politics shouldn't make a difference in such a decision. The massacre will always be a part of the Olympics, and people need to remember it.

I had hoped that Costas' tribute, along with the international call for one, might shame the IOC into doing the right thing. Unfortunately, that assumes that the IOC had any shame in the first place.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Most of the new stuff tonight is on cable. ABC Family has "Pretty Little Liars" and "Jane By Design" from 8-10 p.m., while USA airs "White Collar" and "Covert Affairs" from 9-11. At the same time, TNT has a new "Rizzoli & Isles" and "Franklin & Bash."