NBC Snubs More Than Mitcham’s Sexuality
BY Eric Shaw Quinn
August 28 2008 12:00 AM ET
response NBC says only that its
commentators “don’t discuss an
athlete’s sexual orientation.” To be fair,
when they reported that Australian pole-vaulting gold
medalist Steve Hooker’s wife was a fellow
athlete they didn’t mention Hooker’s sexual
orientation. But they didn’t have to. So why
not just show Lachlan in the stands supporting Matthew
and say that he’s Matt’s partner? They
wouldn’t have had to mention his sexual
orientation. We could have figure it out. Instead,
they ignored Lachlan and repeatedly showed cheering,
face-painted Australians in gold and green wigs
routing for Matthew in the few of his amazing dives
they actually aired.
wasn’t just Matthew’s sexual orientation NBC
didn’t report on. In the few brief hours of
coverage that remained as the games concluded, I saw
constant replays of all the medal victories of the
games’ most outstanding athletes. Certainly,
the American athletes were acknowledged in
NBC’s coverage, particularly those whose performances
were exceptional, and I wanted to see that.
Dara Torres, the
women who took silver at 41. Jason Lezak, the young man
who swam beyond his abilities to win gold in the men 400
relay. The underdog men’s gymnastics team who
rose above all expectations to medal. And then, of
course, there is the amazing Michael Phelps.
In the spirit of
the games, NBC did not limit its focus to Americans.
There were endless replays of the astounding Usain Bolt
running away with the field and features on the entire
Jamaican team. Kenya’s Sammy Wanjiru’s
two-hour, six-minute marathon win was covered in its
entirety. NBC even featured special coverage of a
young woman from South Africa who swam in the
open-water competition though she had only one leg.