Legendary sports commentator Bob Costas appeared Wednesday on CNN Tonight and weighed in on embattled tennis star Novak Djokovic, who has been embroiled in a visa fight with Australian authorities over his lack of a COVID-19 vaccine. While a judge has allowed him to stay in the country to compete in the Australian Open (the defending champion was granted a waiver based after contracting COVID in December), reports have since surfaced that Djokovic attended multiple events despite his positive test. He also admitted after the fact that his travel declaration contained false information.
“There was what he calls a simple clerical error. Others might view it as a conscious lie, of contending whoever filled out the form, on his form to enter Australia, that he had not traveled to other nations when there was clear evidence that he had in the days preceding,” Costas said. “It's all part of a pattern of contempt for common sense when it comes to the medical issues, and also contempt for the common good.”
Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked male tennis player, has faced an uncertain future since arriving in Australia. He was forced to quarantine with the possibility of being deported days before being his successful appeal. Although his fate remains unclear, Djokovic was named the No. 1 seed in the tournament on Wednesday shortly after Costas chided the special treatment that star athletes, and some others, receive.
“In sports, and I guess in parts of entertainment or whatever, if you're great enough, and if you’re important enough to the bottom line because your star value means people in the seats and eyeballs on television,” Costas said, “there are people who will excuse that or try and work around it.”
At the time of the publishing of this story, Australian officials had yet to make a decision on whether Djokovic could remain in the country.
CNN Tonight airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.
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