Gender Mix-Up: NBC Sportscaster Calls Lesbian Olympian's Wife Her "Husband"

Larissa Franca and Liliane Maestrini
From left: Larissa França and Liliane Maestrini

NBC Sports has made another gaffe regarding LGBT Olympians, with broadcaster Chris Marlowe referring to Brazilian beach volleyball player Larissa França’s wife as her “husband.”

The athlete was shown on camera embracing her wife, Liliane Maestrini, today after França and a teammate had beaten a U.S. pair, USA Today reports. Marlowe said, “She gives a hug to Lili. That is her husband. She married Lili in 2013.”

Slip of the tongue? Maybe, but still embarrassing to NBC. The network has already been criticized for failing to mention British diver Tom Daley’s gay identity or acknowledge his fiancé, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who was shown on TV cheering Daley on in Rio de Janeiro.

NBC released a statement from Marlowe Tuesday night, in which he said, “I’m sorry for the mistake today. Clearly, Liliane is Larissa’s wife.” Maestrini is also a beach volleyball star.

Marlowe, a sportscaster with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and a veteran of several Olympics broadcasts, came in for plenty of criticism on Twitter, with Jason Collins, the NBA’s first openly gay player, among those weighing in.

NBC has been under fire for some non-LGBT-related gaffes during the current Olympics as well, USA Today notes. Announcer Al Trautwig had tweeted that U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’s adoptive parents are not really her parents, in response to objections to his on-air statement that Biles “was raised by her grandfather and his wife, and she calls them mom and dad.” Critics said he was being disrespectful to adoptive parents; he deleted the tweet at NBC’s behest and then apologized. And broadcaster Dan Hicks referred to Hungarian swimmer Katrina Hosszu’s husband and coach, Shane Tusup, as “the guy responsible for her success,” without acknowledging their marriage.

Tags: Sports

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