Even as a broadcaster whose career has included some of the greatest games and the most powerful moments, Bob Costas says the protesting of NFL players and personnel this past Sunday was unique.

"A handful of people became hundreds of people," Costas says. "What centered around one issue, a valid issue -- calling attention to inequities in the justice system or law enforcement -- became about something bigger. It became about the whole tone and the culture wars in this country and the political divisiveness in this country, and I hope it's not confined to just one day and not confined to gestures, but leads to productive conversations."

Costas, who was born in 1952, can draw some similarities between the activists of his youth and the current voices of progress, but he notes that today's athletes are taking that to a new level.

"I wasn't around covering it then, but Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968 had the clenched fist salute after they won medals in the 200 meters," he says. "Muhammad Ali was an Olympic athlete, but he didn't really become an activist until after his Olympic days in Rome, which was in 1960.

"When I was growing up, a lot of athletes -- Curt Flood, Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King -- a very long list of athletes were outspoken and we may be entering an era, sparked by a confluence of events in which athletes find that voice again. People like LeBron James are finding increasingly sophisticated voices. It's one thing to be concerned about an issue. It's another thing to grasp that issue in a nuanced way and be able to carry it forward beyond gestures. I think we're seeing a number of people that are willing and able to do that."

Costas spoke to ThePostGame at the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis' 32nd Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner. Founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti, whose son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game, the organization is the fundraising arm of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Other stars in attendance included David Ortiz, Simone Biles, Abby Wambach, Jason Taylor, Rick Barry and Alonzo Mourning. Costas was the emcee.

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