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Piers Morgan Live

Interview with Bob Costas

Aired May 17, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Good evening.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world and to my studio audience.

It's a big night here tonight.

We've got a special guest, Bob Costas, the voice of American sports.




MORGAN: Bob Costas is a journalist who is absolutely fearless when it comes to speaking his mind on events on and off the field. He's got a lot to say about the stories we're all talking about, from O.J. Simpson back in court this week, to Jason Collins coming up to 12 seasons in the NBA, even the growing scandals rocking the White House.

So much to get to tonight.

And, Bob Costas, I'm proud to say, joins me now.

Bob, how are you?

COSTAS: Good, Piers. How are you?

MORGAN: I couldn't think of a better person, really, given the events of the last month, in a sense. Everything is straddling your world, because your world, in a way, the sports world, has straddled every other world, whether it's racial equality, within it's gay rights --

COSTAS: Yes --


COSTAS: -- if not always -- if not always, at least from time to time, which is why it's so almost amusing, but also annoying when people will say, a sports announcer has no business dealing with these issues, when what they really mean is a sports announcer has no business saying something I disagree with. MORGAN: Right.

COSTAS: But if he said something I agreed with about an -- a social issue that touched sports, then there would be no problem.

MORGAN: You see, I love watching you, because I love to hear the opinions about other stuff, too. But there are people -- and you know this -- who say, I don't want to hear Bob Costas banging on about guns or whatever it may be. I want him to stick to sport.

What do you say to those people?

COSTAS: Well, in the case of the gun situation, the only reason I addressed it was because the jumping off point was a murder-suicide involving an NFL player.

Even something more newsworthy, like Aurora, which preceded it, or Newtown, which followed it, we do not have prompted me to talk about guns.

In retrospect, I think I didn't do as good a job as I generally do of being precise in how I expressed myself. And I should have realized that the time was so short, there wasn't enough room to put in all the qualifiers that I could have put in.

So I don't regret addressing the issue. But I think that the way in which it was addressed was properly understood by a large portion of the audience, but understandably, misinterpreted by another portion of the audience. And that's on me.

MORGAN: Yes, but see, I thought the reaction was absurd and, you know?

COSTAS: Some of it was, yes.

MORGAN: Because I had been campaigning pretty vociferously about gun control, because I come from a country -- and I'm not going to belabor the point -- but we just don't have gun violence like you do in America. We have 30, 40 murders a year from guns. You have 12,000 in America.


MORGAN: And when I heard what you said, you know, and I've watched it several times, I loved the fact that you chose that moment to say it. And then I look -- I checked back before this interview, to look that it was about 10 days later, 12 days later --

COSTAS: Newtown.

MORGAN: -- that Newtown happened.

COSTAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: There you were being harangued for 10 days by people. Shut up, Bob Costas, what are you to tell us about guns? And then comes what I think has been one of the worst gun outrages --


MORGAN: -- in American history.

COSTAS: And we thought that changed the debate, but not enough for those members of the Senate -- some of them may honestly hold a certain extreme Second Amendment view. That may be their honest view, so you can't accuse them of cowardice.

But, obviously, there's a large number -- or was a large number -- that were beyond feckless to craven and cowardly and caved in front of the NRA and wouldn't even vote for something as simple as a universal background check.

Here's something I don't understand, when you talk about the NRA. They're constantly talking about responsible, law-abiding gun owners -- and rightly so. I'm not hostile toward the Second Amendment. In fact, I applaud someone who is a responsible gun owner, support that person if they want to have a gun to protect their home and their family, to use it for sporting purposes -- fine.

But we all know that there are irresponsible abuses of guns. Those are the circumstances that the NRA should be front and center criticizing. They should understand that there is a gun culture in this country that has nothing to do with the original intent of the Second Amendment. They should understand that background checks would weed out the very people that they claim not to be, would weed out those who are not responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

Why do they stand in front of reasonable reforms?

MORGAN: Well, you see, Bob, the NRA is not the problem, as you and I know, because I've got a clip here from Wayne LaPierre.

MORGAN: This is what he had to say about who the real problem is.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA VICE PRESIDENT AND CEO: My phone started ringing the minute it happened. And I started getting all kinds of communications from people, just disgusted. I mean, they tuned in to watch a sporting event and meanwhile, what they get in regard to this cold-blooded murder that took place is they get a national sportscaster whining about his social agenda, that he wants adopted to ban firearms and ban handguns.

I mean the American public, they're just -- it's shameful. They're disgusted by it.


MORGAN: You are shameful and disgusting -- COSTAS: Well --

MORGAN: -- and you're the problem, Bob Costas.

COSTAS: Yes. First -- first of all --

MORGAN: It's all your fault --

COSTAS: Exactly.

MORGAN: -- that people are running around committing -- committing outrages.

COSTAS: First of all, forgive me if I'm not sent into fits of self-doubt by being called shameful by Wayne LaPierre. But I never, never advocated and do not advocate, in the deepest recesses of my mind, a ban on firearms or a ban on handguns.

You can have reasonable regulations of firearms. We regulate many things in this society without outlawing them. You could have reasonable regulations while still protecting people's legitimate Second Amendment rights.

But let me get back to what I meant to say that night, which was clear to some and not clear to others. I was talking about a gun culture in sports, and specifically in the National Football League.

In retrospect, given the time that I had, I wish I had said, if we want to gain some elusive perspective after tragedies like this, then a serious discussion has to begin with, in sports, about a number of things, including, though not limited to, domestic violence and whether or not those who play a violent sport are more inclined toward domestic violence.

The affects of football -- we know that, long range, it has an effect on people's cognitive ability, on their mood. It's led to suicide. But short-term, does it lead to greater aggression off the field, lack of impulse control, especially when mixed with painkillers, alcohol, whatever else?

And third, the relationship between athletes and guns. And I could have and should have stipulated, we're not talking here about the exercise of anyone's legitimate Second Amendment rights. But we are talking about an irresponsible attitude toward guns which permeates the sports world.

And often -- not always -- but often leads to tragedy and almost never leads to anything good.

MORGAN: I mean, I completely and heartily endorse that. I don't think you need to explain or -- or clarify it at all.

But then you have someone like NBA great Charles Barkley. And he said this about guns.


CHARLES BARKLEY: I carry a gun. I have --

COSTAS: You live in Arizona --


COSTAS: -- where you can legally carry a gun.

BARKLEY: Even when I lived in Philadelphia, I've had a gun -- I carry a gun in my car every year of my life, since I was 21, 22. I just feel safer with it.


MORGAN: You see, there's a culture that goes way beyond sport in America. And it's a culture, as Charles Barkley said -- and I'm not going to criticize him at all. But he says he feels safer --


MORGAN: -- with a loaded firearm.

COSTAS: David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, said some years back that he understands that attitude, which a large number of his players have, but that statistically, you are in greater danger carrying a gun, especially outside the home -- greater danger carrying one than if you were without one.

MORGAN: Well, you're in more danger, actually, specifically in --

COSTAS: In your home with a gun.

MORGAN: -- in your home.

I mean, what's really shocked me, Bob, and I've talked to about this before. What has really shocked me in the last few weeks has not been a mass shooting, because there hasn't been one, thank God for a few weeks. But there will be. It's not even been the ongoing crises in places like Chicago, which are as much down to poor law enforcement, I think, as much as anything else --

COSTAS: And a culture of criminality --


COSTAS: -- which has nothing to do with the NRA or the Second Amendment.

MORGAN: Well, I mean it's a law enforcement issue -- get in there and sort them out, as they've done successfully in New York, by the way.

But what it comes down to is the recklessness of people with guns around children, the number of children in the last two weeks in America who have shot other kids, siblings, friends, shot adults, it must be nearly 10 cases in two weeks. These things happened and they're not even big news.

COSTAS: Yes. There are guns that are manufactured for and marketed to children.


COSTAS: They come in little bright colors and whatnot --

MORGAN: Crickett, which is a - -


COSTAS: That's right. And that's what happened with a 5 -year- old kid -- I'm sorry that they had to suffer a tragedy -- but what sort of parent buys a kid a usable -- not a toy gun, but a usable gun with ammunition and then walks away and the kid kills his 2 -year-old sister?

MORGAN: But -- but let me ask a different question. You see, I -- I agree with -- and the reaction from the audience is obvious.

COSTAS: By the way, that doesn't happen once a year in America.

MORGAN: No, no, no --

COSTAS: It happens a lot.

MORGAN: Because it's been happening, as I say, nearly 10 times in the last two or three weeks.

But here's my problem with it. Yes, you can blame irresponsible parents, but what kind of society that is part of the great superpower of the world allows a company like Crickett to be deliberately marketing and selling guns to 5-year-olds?

COSTAS: And let's also understand, the NRA is a gun lobby, like any other lobbying organization --

MORGAN: They want to sell guns.

COSTAS: Exactly. The pharmaceutical lobby, the food and beverage lobby, the tobacco lobby. They want to sell guns. Their board is filled with gun manufacturers whose main interest is protecting their ability to sell you a Bushmaster or to sell the parents of a 5-year-old a Crickett.

MORGAN: But here's the thing, Bob. If -- if there was advertising on television in America aimed at letting 5-year-olds drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, there would be an outrage.

COSTAS: Clearly.

MORGAN: The fact that there's advertising to get your first rifle, a real rifle that can kill --

COSTAS: Clearly.

MORGAN: -- nobody seems that outraged. Where is the outrage?

COSTAS: Well, look, the NRA convention just concluded in Houston. There are legitimate Second Amendment points to be made and some of the points that they make should be part of a reasonable discussion.

On the other hand, this extremist absolutist view of the Second Amendment, which they cloak in high-minded talk about freedom and patriotism, they are the true patriots. Forgive me if I doubt that if the founders were reincarnated, that they would say, let's head to Houston, because that's where our intellectual and spiritual heirs can be found.

Let's stand shoulder to shoulder --


COSTAS: -- with everybody at the NRA convention, because they're exactly what we had in mind.

MORGAN: I mean, my real issue, the background checks thing I find just unfathomable because why wouldn't you want every gun to be -- you know, they have this terror of being registered.

Look, you have to register a car.

COSTAS: Of course.

MORGAN: And cars, they have many uses. You know, they don't -- they're not designed to kill people. Guns only have one use -- they kill things.

COSTAS: If you purchase Sudafed, you're in a register, because Sudafed can be an ingredient in crystal meth.

MORGAN: I can't go to Walmart in various states in America and buy six packets of Sudafed, because it's bad for my health. I can't buy certain types of French cheese because it's bad for my health. I can't buy a Kinder egg (ph), because I may choke on the little toy, so I'm banned from having it.

But I can go into the same supermarket --

COSTAS: Right.

MORGAN: -- banning me from those things and I can buy an AR-15 military assault rifle that can fire 100 shots in a minute. And that's the rifle used at Aurora and Sandy Hook.

COSTAS: Give me one example where a citizen used an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine for a constructive purpose. Now, they always present this theoretical -- well, what if there's not one or two invaders to my home, what if there's 10 or 12 and after I've killed the first eight or nine, I need to reload?

Yes, let me know when that happens. And between now and when that happens, sadly, there's going to be another Aurora, there's going to be another Newtown, there's going to be another Tucson.

And when they talk about anyone, not -- no one that I know wants to confiscate firearms or abridge the real meaning of the Second Amendment. But when they try and make it sound as if everyone who proposes even the most common sense and moderate gun regulations is really only up to a nefarious game, which is about confiscating their guns so that a tyrannical government will have them at their mercy, go talk to Gabby Giffords' husband, an astronaut and a gun owner. Talk to the former Phillies and Yankees manager, Dallas Green, a lifelong hunter, a collector of John Wayne movies, whose granddaughter was among those shot and killed in the Gabby Gifford incident.

Tell those people that they're sort of mealy-mouthed, panty- waist, non-patriotic gun haters. No, they're not. They're sensible Americans who see that there's a situation that's out of control and don't want the national debate to be controlled by extremists.

MORGAN: Well said, Bob Costas.

Let's take a break.

Let's come back and talk Lawrence Armstrong.


MORGAN: And when was the moment that you realized, wow, he really was the biggest cheat in American sports.




COSTAS: Last year, 554 against Memphis, which is an individual record.

Gilmore in the lane has it slapped away and stolen by ML Carr (ph). He brings the dribble out on a four-on-two dishes the ball and lays.

At the other end, driving layup blocked by C.J., fans wanted a goaltending call. Barnes missing inside.


MORGAN: The voice is unmistakable was a young Bob Costas 37 years ago, doing play-by-play for the Spirit of St. Louis --

COSTAS: I played more than that.

MORGAN: -- the old American Basketball Association. We found that tape on YouTube, where one conversator said you sounded a bit nasally.

COSTAS: I -- I was --

MORGAN: Care to respond, Bob?

COSTAS: I think that puts it mildly.


COSTAS: I was -- I was -- I was 22 years old, right out of Syracuse University. This was actually closer to 40 years ago.

MORGAN: Have you ever wondered if things had been different, you could have become one of those great movie announcers?

I always thought your voice had that kind of tone to it, you know, just when you thought it was safe to go back --


MORGAN: -- Jaws 2, 3-D. I can see you doing that.


COSTAS: From the producer of "The Terminator."



MORGAN: We've got a question from Gerald Whiteside (ph).



Hi, Bob.


WHITESIDE: My question is in two parts.

COSTAS: All right.

WHITESIDE: What made you desire to become a sports broadcaster in the first place, and since becoming one of the best, what is your take on how the profession has changed since your early days at NBC in the 1970s?

COSTAS: Well, I wanted to be a sports announcer because I -- I loved sports as a kid and I was also enchanted by the voices of sport. Back then, more games were on radio than on television. And the announcer was even more important. And the best broadcasters gave a game almost a melody -- Vince Scully, Lindsey Nelson, Marty Glickman, Jim McKay, Harry Kerry and Jack Buck out of St. Louis.

And I wanted to be one of them. There was a romance to what they did.

And then I also figured out, by the time I was 10, that I was ever going to get into Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden without paying for a ticket, it wouldn't be -- be Mickey Mantle or, Willis Reed, it would be to be Mel Allen or Marv Albert.

So I decided I'd -- I'd become a --

MORGAN: Well, we're all very glad you did.

COSTAS: -- sports broadcaster.

MORGAN: I want to -- I'll come to the other part of your question a bit later when we talk about the -- the state of football in particular today.


MORGAN: But I want to ask you about Lance Armstrong, because there is a man who, for a long time, was put up as the great American sporting icon, the most inspiring, the most formidable, the great champion --


MORGAN: -- the seven time Tour de France winner. And then it all came crashing down.

But what was the moment for you when the blinkers maybe came off and you realized he is a cheat?

COSTAS: Well, I think the evidence was accumulating year after year and there was so much smoke, you figure there had to be fire. But at one point last year, he dropped the case. He just said I'm -- it's gone too far. And his statement was, I can't put up with this witch-hunt anymore.

MORGAN: And for him to quit was --

COSTAS: Yes, for him to quit, because he was always, in contrast to a lot of guys who were involved with performance-enhancing drugs, he was always quick to challenge anybody to take them to court, to call them a liar, to say get me on the air.

In fact, one time several years ago, I was in that seat filling in for Larry King for a week. And one of these acquisitions -- accusations came out in "L'Equipe," or "L'Equipe," the --

MORGAN: Yes, yes.

COSTAS: -- the French newspaper. MORGAN: French, yes.

COSTAS: And he actually called me. He was savvy enough. He called me. He knew that a sports guy was going to be sitting in this seat and that it was seen internationally, it would be seen in Europe. He said, I want to go on for the full hour and refute these allegations.

And I asked him every challenging question I could think of, every skeptical question. He was very smooth. He never wavered. He was very, very assertive.

MORGAN: He just lied -- he lied to you over the air.

COSTAS: He -- right, he lied to me and he -- he -- he lied to everybody else.


COSTAS: So, again, for those may not be clear on this, you are flatly saying, regardless of the fact that you have criticisms of the protocol, even if the protocol was correct.


COSTAS: There's no way they could have found EPO in your urine because you're flatly saying you never used it.

ARMSTRONG: When I peed in that bottle, there wasn't EPO in it. No way.


MORGAN: And he was a good liar, wasn't he?

COSTAS: He was a very good liar, because he was intelligent and he had a series of facts, or what he purported to be facts, rather than evasions, and he did have the one thing going for him, that he had been tested repeatedly in and out of competition and never failed a drug test.

MORGAN: And we now know all that had happened was he -- he had gone to ever more elaborate scientific ways --

COSTAS: That's correct.


MORGAN: -- the testing.

COSTAS: And then, of course, with the Live Strong Foundation and all the good work that he did on behalf of cancer research and the victims of cancer.

MORGAN: Yes, but --

COSTAS: That won him sympathy.

MORGAN: But, Bob, I don't wear that anymore. I -- I don't -- I think the whole Live Strong thing was a cover. And I hate to say it.

COSTAS: It could be.

MORGAN: And I hate to be that cynical. But my problem with Lance Armstrong is I think he built that whole edifice around himself to protect himself from the rampant cheating that went on for almost that entire period.

COSTAS: And one big difference between Armstrong and other athletes involved with PEDs is that to Americans, at least, not to Europeans, but to Americans, Lance Armstrong was cycling. The truth is, most Americans don't know --

MORGAN: He was bigger, though, wasn't he?


MORGAN: He made it -- he was America for a long time. He was a winner.


MORGAN: He never quit. He was inspiring. He beat cancer. He went --

COSTAS: Right.

MORGAN: -- back and won again.

COSTAS: It was about him. You could --

MORGAN: Right.

COSTAS: -- you could root -- and many people do -- for Tiger Woods because they find him a compelling golfer. They don't necessarily embrace everything about him personally, right? And there are other athletes who make a long list.

But with Armstrong, since Americans, by and large, don't care about cycling, it was all about their feeling about him. They had to believe in him. So this fall is even greater --

MORGAN: How did you feel --

COSTAS: -- than the fall of some others.

MORGAN: -- that he lied so spectacularly like this, right across the desk for an hour on television, around the world. He looked you, Bob Costas, in the eye, one of the most respected men, yourself, in American sport, and just sold you a complete pack of lies?

COSTAS: You know, I didn't take it personally. I -- I just thought that that was his deal, you know? MORGAN: Did he ever apologize to you?

COSTAS: No. I'm sure it's a long list and he hasn't gotten to me yet.


COSTAS: He's got a lot of apologizing to do.

MORGAN: Let's take a break.

Let's come back and talk about golf theme, but it's not really about golf, the Masters.

COSTAS: Um-hmm.

MORGAN: Is it the most racist, sexist institution in modern sport, Bob Costas?

Did you ever think about that answer?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't forgotten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have three weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roll that tape, will you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALES: (INAUDIBLE) is hot. (INAUDIBLE) is for each gold. (INAUDIBLE) is for agenda pot nine days hold. Hey.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're supposed to come here and know your stuff. If you're going to jump me and jump all over me, then you should have watched some of this. You should really know your facts. I'm disappointed.

COSTA: Vince, I have seen some of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you let me finish?

COSTA: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to say that part (ph).


MORGAN: A rather scary moment there for Vince Lamont from HBO's "On the Record."


MORGAN: Bob, what were you thinking when that was all going on?

COSTAS: Well, here was the deal. It was completely live on HBO, no commercials. I think the segment was scheduled for 15 minutes, but because it got so tense, they just let it keep going, 27, 28 minutes. And much of it was unrelenting tension, just like that.

Now, I didn't think -- some did -- I didn't think that he was going to swat me or wring my neck. I did realize that he was getting up on my grill to try and intimidate me.

Now, he outweighed me more than two to one and --


COSTAS: -- God -- God knows what he might have been hopped up on, all right?


COSTAS: On the other hand, how far back could I go? To the back of the seat?

So I'm sitting there figuring I can back up and look timid, or, when he comes forward, I can come forward. And you notice there, I didn't really say anything, but I smiled at him. And that made him angrier still because --


COSTAS: -- because it -- whatever he was trying wasn't working.

Vince is actually a great showman and he's a smart guy.

MORGAN: We have a statement in from Vince.

COSTAS: Get out of town.

MORGAN: But we do.

COSTAS: I haven't seen him in a few years.

MORGAN: It's actually rather a good one. It's exclusive and he gave it to us just for this show.


MORGAN: And it says, "I used to think Bob Costas was a pompous, arrogant, self-absorbed, pseudo-intellectual little twerp."


(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: "I used to think that. But now, 12 years later, I've come to realize he's not really a twerp. LOL."


COSTAS: You know, he called me -- he called me the next day after that and he said, Bob, I want a rematch. You took number one, let's make it -- let's make it two out of three. And I think if I did prevail on that, it wasn't so much on content, if you read the transcript, as it often is on television --


COSTAS: -- it was tone. He got all worked up.

MORGAN: Yes, yes.

COSTAS: And -- and I didn't and I kind of -- I --

MORGAN: It was great.

COSTAS: -- I might have won on tone.

MORGAN: It was a great television moment.

Now, let's watch this. This is a clip from you last month talking about the Augusta National Golf Club, which nobody ever criticizes.

Let's see what you had to say about it.


COSTAS (via telephone): What no CBS commentator has ever alluded to, even in passing, even during a rain delay, even when there was time to do so, is Augusta's history of racism and sexism, even when people were protesting just outside the grounds. Forget about taking a side. Never acknowledging it.

So, not only would I never work the masters because I'm not at CBS, but I'd have to say something and then I would be ejected.


MORGAN: I mean that is the reality and it's a pretty shocking reality. It's like some anachronistic old gentleman's club, isn't it?

COSTAS: Well, a couple of things about this. I felt bad for one reason on the fallout on that. I did not mean to criticize anybody at present at CBS. And I was talking about the arc of history there.

CBS -- and this is not a make-good statement, I truly believe this. They do the Masters about as well as a sports event can be done. And Jim Nance, their main anchor, is magnificent. He's superb. He's got the whole assignment nailed.

MORGAN: Bob, let me stop you.

COSTAS: What I was talking about was this.

MORGAN: CBS, to be fair -- I totally agree about their golf coverage. I think they're terrific. But let's call them out. I haven't heard one of them say how outrageous it was that women were not allowed to be members of Augusta Club in modern day America.

COSTAS: Because since 1956, CBS has been on a one year deal with Augusta National, which can be ended at any time, at Augusta National's discretion. The great Jack Whitaker once referred to the gallery as a mob. And he, one of the most erudite of all sports broadcasters, was banished. That's what I was alluding to. You would be banished if you ever said anything which they considered to be out of line.

I do not think that CBS should be talking about that now since in 1990, they admitted their first black member and recently they admitted two women, including Condoleezza Rice. But over the course of time, this was an issue. In fairness, the field at the Masters, which once was lily white, now doesn't just include Tiger Woods. It's very diverse. It's internationally diverse.

So in that sense, if you're looking at a snapshot right now, there isn't all that much to talk about. But if you're talking about in the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, the '90s, there had to have been a time where this circumstance should have been acknowledged and it never was.

MORGAN: It was. It was completely outrageous. What did you make of the Jason Collins thing recently? He came out as the first openly gay active professional male athlete in America.

COSTAS: Surprised that it took that long. Glad that it did. I think he's a perfect candidate for a couple of reasons. One, he's obviously an extremely bright, well educated guy. And he's able to understand and if he chooses to, speak articulately about the issue. But also, he's been in the league for a long time. So some of these vague notions that players may have -- well, geez, how will he act in the locker room, we want to take a shower with him -- all that sort of thing, well, wait a minute, not only has he been in the league for 12 years, he's been with a half dozen teams.

He's probably been a teammate of yours or a teammate of someone who you know, and none of these fears has ever come to pass. He's the perfect guy to deflect all of these either bigoted or -- let's be kind, some people are uncomfortable and haven't come around on it yet. He's the perfect person to give the lie to those notions.

MORGAN: I want to come back after the break with a question from a member of the audience. And it's from Daniel. Daniel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an unbelievable interview. My question is to you, Bob, is, in the 35 plus years covering sports, what is the greatest sports moment that you recall or that you have ever been at? We see you in the golf. We see you in basketball, baseball. It's probably really hard with so many great moments.

MORGAN: Great question. Do not answer. Think about that. We'll be back after the break.



MORGAN: Back now with Bob Costas. We left off on a cliffhanger there, with Dan's question. What is the single best sports moment you have ever seen?

COSTAS: I can't narrow it to one. But I would go Mohammed Ali lighting the torch in 1996 at the opening ceremony at the Atlanta Olympics, Michael Jordan's last shot, which should have been the last shot of his career, then he came back with the Wizards, but what really closed his Bulls career in 1998. I was lucky enough to call that, the championship winning shot against the Utah Jazz.

And then Kirk Gibson's pinch hit home run off Dennis Eckersley in game one of the 1988 World Series, which was so cinematic that before game two, we actually cross-cut it with the last scene of "the Natural." Robert Redford, Kirk Gibson. The best part was Wilford Brimley as the manager and Tommy Lasorda, the actual manager, they were so physically similar. And when they each jumped up, they each got about this high off the ground. And it matched perfectly. It was just --

MORGAN: Here's a question. I know you love your stats. Who is the greatest sportsman you have ever seen in any sport, for whatever reason?

COSTAS: Perhaps the greatest all around athlete would be Jim Brown, the great American football player, who also could have been the greatest lacrosse player who ever lived, undoubtedly could have played basketball in the NBA. He would be way up there.

MORGAN: What about Tiger? Because the reason I mention him is he's on a hot streak again now. If he continues that, he could smash all records into oblivion. But also, what he represents -- Tiger Woods coming when he did, the importance of that. He's doing for sport in America what Barack Obama did for politics.

COSTAS: Well, but the barriers had been broken in sports in other sports. And in fact, Lee Elder and Charlie Sippert (ph) and a few other African-American golfers had been on the tour. It was Tiger who broke through as a winner.

MORGAN: But he broke through in what was still a predominantly white sport.

COSTAS: Yes, no question about it. And it was tremendously symbolic when he won his first major at Augusta in 1997, where a generation earlier, he might not have been able to play.

MORGAN: When he made his comeback recently, and was starting to play well, Nike took out these ads basically saying winning is all that matters. A lot of women got quite upset about that, said, no, it's not, actually. It cost him his marriage and so on.

But in the end, as a sports lover, they had a point, didn't they? It is about winning, isn't it?

COSTAS: I think a lot of people are able to separate. And that doesn't mean that they approve of or dismiss misbehavior. But they are able to separate an athletic performance from personal behavior. They're also able to make a distinction between athletic authenticity and other forms of misbehavior.

So you know, someone misbehaves in all kinds of ways, but it doesn't impact on the integrity of his performance, then you can separate those things out. And other than a quibble here or there about an illegal drop or something like that, no one questions the authenticity of Tiger Woods' sporting performances.

For example, Mark McGuire, the former Cardinals slugger, is one of the nicest people I have ever met in sports. But you have to discount some of what he did because he used steroids. That doesn't mean he's a bad guy. He's a better guy than a lot of guys who were clean. But you can't -- you can't say that his performance is 100 percent authentic.

MORGAN: Well, no. The moment I hear they cheated, I don't see any of their performances as authentic. It may be harsh but as a sports fan, I take a pretty high bar on this thing. There are the cheats and the non-cheats, aren't there?

COSTAS: Well, there's some validity in that. Some validity in that. You know, this brings me back, not entirely related, but a few people in the aftermath of Jason Collins cited their religious beliefs and said well, if he's openly gay, then he's in violation of Biblical principles. And if anyone has premarital sex or if they have sex outside marriage, then they, too.

And I'm thinking, if that's going to be your standard, Tim Tebow is going to have to play every position on the field. How the hell are you going to field a team?


MORGAN: Bob, I'm going to put you on the spot. I leave you with this little cliffhanger for when we come back. What's been the great interview of your life? You have done so many. I would love to know the answer to that.




COSTAS: I would be rolling torpedoes, get blunted with Rastas, and for a hefty fee, I'm on your record like Bob Costas. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Bob Costas rapping there. Good rhyme there, Bob.

COSTAS: They asked me who my favorite rapper was on the Major League Baseball Network. As it happened, about 10 years ago, Ludacris name-checked me just that way.

MORGAN: If I may say, that was Ludacris. Now I left viewers on a cliffhanger again, which was your favorite interview, for whatever reason. What would you say?

COSTAS: Well, I interviewed Ted Williams, who some people think is the greatest hitter of all time, in 1988, at a time when he had not done an interview, radio or television, at all, in 15, 16 years. And he was amazingly forthcoming. And he's a compelling figure. And at one point I said to him, you know, you're the guy who John Wayne played in all those movies. You're actually the guy.

And he hitched for a moment, a moment of modesty, but then honesty overtook him and he said, yeah, I know it.


MORGAN: There was also a famous interview with Mickey Mantle. I want to play a clip from that here.


MORGAN: I always had the sense that there was a sadness about you. We all have some regret, but I always felt there was quite a bit of sadness about you. In retrospect, was that true?

MICKEY MANTLE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Yeah. I think that when I did drink a little too much or something, it kind of relieved the tension that I felt within myself maybe, because I hadn't been what I should have been.

COSTAS: Because you hadn't been the ball player you felt you should have been?

MANTLE: Or the daddy.


MORGAN: So Bob, I've got a little surprise for you. It's a statement actually from Mickey Mantle's son, Dan. It's exclusive to us just for this show. "We would like to tell Bob how much the interview helped my dad be able to express himself to his family. We were a family that never said "I love you" much. And after the interview, it made it much easier. We love Bob for helping the world to see Mickey Mantle for the great person he really was. He understood that young people shouldn't look at him as a role model, but he was still a hero to his family.'

That's quite something. COSTAS: And a hero to many baseball fans. That distinction was important to him, the distinction between a hero, a baseball hero, and role model. Mickey was the first one to tell you how deeply flawed he was. But there was a tremendous humanity about him, too.

MORGAN: The other more recent and pretty infamous interview was one you did with Jerry Sandusky. I want to play a little clip from that.


JERRY SANDUSKY, ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: I say that I am innocent of those charges.

COSTAS: Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?

SANDUSKY: Well, I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them. And I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact. But -- so if you look at it that way, there are things that -- that wouldn't -- you know, would be accurate.


MORGAN: You know, it was when I heard that interview that I knew he was guilty.

COSTAS: Me, too.

MORGAN: Because no man of that age would say those things --


MORGAN: -- without being guilty of being a pedophile. It's just not the way that adult men behave around young boys, who are not their children.

COSTAS: And since he didn't testify in his own defense, for obvious reasons, that's the only time most of the American public heard from him. I didn't know what to expect. And as he continued to dig himself in deeper, I was as surprised as any of you were.

MORGAN: Amazing. What is the art of interviewing, do you think? Is there one?

COSTAS: I could ask the same question of you. I think it's important to be prepared, but not to be locked into your preparation. Because you have to be ready to respond to whatever the person says. And if you can win the person's trust, which is not the same thing as their affection -- they don't have to believe that you're going throw them a softball. But if they know you're not there to ambush them, but ask them legitimate questions, even if they're tough and straightforward questions, then I think they're apt to respect you and to respond in kind.

MORGAN: My producers are saying, are you listening to this.


MORGAN: My signature question, I may as well throw it in to you, because I've had the great pleasure of meeting your wife earlier, who -- I've got to say, you're batting way above your average, by the way, on that one. But how many times have you been properly in love, Bob Costas, in your life?

COSTAS: Properly in love? Does that mean like with tea and crumpets?


MORGAN: It could be any definition you think it means.

COSTAS: Three.

MORGAN: Three times.


That's the hat trick.

MORGAN: That is the hat trick. Do you believe you finally got to the right place for you?

COSTAS: I'm in a very, very good place. Yes. Very good place.

MORGAN: Let's take a very quick question from Lindsey, because this is relevant I think to your appeal to the ladies.

COSTAS: Hello, Lindsey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. First, Bob, I would like to thank you for your comments about gun control, especially domestic violence. It's a really critical issue.

COSTAS: Thank you.

MORGAN: But on a lighter note, you have such a youthful appearance. And I'm wondering if Dick Clark and had passed along his youth secrets to you? And will you share it?

COSTAS: You know, Dick Clark went to Syracuse as I did. And so I've known Dick since I was in my early 30s. He passed away some time ago. But I -- and frequently, even then when I was 32, 33 years old, you are like Dick Clark. You're like Dick Clark. When I was 40, I looked like I was 25. I don't know what the secret is. Try not to booze too much, you know, and be found in a gutter at 3:00 in the morning.


MORGAN: Let's take a final break and a very quick segment coming up. I want to talk very quickly about soccer and cricket, because they to me are the only sports that really matter.



MORGAN: David Beckham retired this week from football. Many British soccer fans think he retired when he came to America five years ago. Let's not be churlish. I got a quick question, actually, from Steven. Steven, just ask the question you wanted to ask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, Piers, sorry, Manchester United won the Premier League again.

MORGAN: I'll have you removed if you carry on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Bob, I'm curious why you think soccer hasn't become a major league in America, considering it's the biggest sport everywhere else in the world?

COSTAS: Well, because no one goes to Brazil and says, how come you're not baseball crazy or hockey crazy? You had entrenched sports in North America, baseball, football, basketball, hockey -- to a lesser extent tennis and golf and even boxing. So, we're in a different place.

I think that soccer's made some inroads, but it's never going to break through at the level of those other sports.

MORGAN: My theory is it's because America doesn't have a good enough national team. And the moment it does and can actually win the World Cup, you'll all get excited.

COSTAS: We thought that when the U.S. won in 2000, won the Women's World Cup, and Brandy Chastain (ph) and all the rest, and it didn't really sustain. However, as a participant sport, my kids played soccer. Millions and millions of kids play soccer. It's a great participant sport. I just don't see it rivaling the big three or four --

MORGAN: Before we get to our final question, why is it that you call your domestic competitions, like the baseball series, the World Series, when America's the only team that's allowed to enter.

COSTAS: It's true. It's true. In 1903, somebody decided that the baseball world was confined to --

MORGAN: To America.

COSTAS: Not only the United States, but to everything St. Louis and East. And that was the World Series. So why change it?

MORGAN: Let's go to a quick quiz. I know you have some questions for me. I have some for you. Do you know what a -- if I said I was bowling you a googly, and I had two silly mid ones and a fine leg, would you know what the hell I'm talking about?

COSTAS: I would say the police probably brought you home in the middle of the night.

MORGAN: That is cricket terminology.

COSTAS: I figured it was cricket.

MORGAN: You googly is when you bowl a ball with your arm flicked over like that, and it comes out the back of the wrist in reverse.

COSTAS: Like a Screwball in baseball.

MORGAN: A little bit like a screwball. And the silly mid on would be about 10 yards away from the batter, I guess. And the fine leg would be down in the corner of the field.

COSTAS: I have to tell you that both in Australia and in Britain, I have spent hours and hours in front of the television set trying to decipher what I'm watching. And I'm as clueless as I was --

MORGAN: We have a simple phrase for it. Cricket is basically baseball for people with brains.


MORGAN: It's deliberately complicated. We make it so complicated that Americans just can't understand it.

COSTAS: All right. I have one for you.

MORGAN: Go on.

COSTAS: What's an Uncle Charlie?

MORGAN: An Uncle Charlie? I have an Uncle Charlie, actually.

COSTAS: Do you?

MORGAN: I'm sure it doesn't involve him. I have absolute no idea.

COSTAS: It's a curve ball. A good curve ball is an Uncle Charlie. What's a Ribbie.

MORGAN: A Ribbie? Do you get that with fries at McDonald's?

COSTAS: That's an McRib. A Ribbie is a Run Batted In.

MORGAN: I do go to the baseball. And I can sing the -- let's all go to the ball game. What's it called? Let's all go --

COSTAS: "Take Me Out to The Ball Game. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack's."

MORGAN: Bob Costas, it's been a real pleasure. Great to see you. Bob Costas everyone.

(APPLAUSE) MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Thanks to Bob Costas and our studio audience. Good night.