NBC Sports seems to have a problem treating gay athletes, and the gay parents of athletes, with the same respect and visibility it shows to their heterosexual counterparts.
They failed to identify Tom Daley‘s financé Dustin Lance Black when showing he and Daley’s mother in the crowd, dressed in matching “Team Daley” shirts.
Black, an Academy Award winning screenwriter, is famous in his own right. Mentioning the family members and partners of athletes while showing them cheering in the stands is typically a reflex during Olympic coverage, which is always hungry for a good human interest story.
“Could the network have resisted lingering over an Oscar-winner affianced to an Olympic medal-winner if the relationship didn’t involve two people of the same sex?” Slate asks, continuing, “…do you really think they wouldn’t point out a diver’s celebrity fiancée if it were Marion Cotillard, Brie Larson, or another Oscar-winner whose fame level was roughly commensurate with Black’s?…You don’t have to be the kind of person who sees homophobia everywhere to think the commentators were reluctant to bring up a star athlete’s homosexuality.”
Then there was commentator Chris Marlowe referring to Brazilian volleyball player Larissa França’s wife as her “husband.”
“I’m sorry for the mistake today. Clearly, Liliane is Larissa’s wife,” Marlowe said, which served as the only apology to come from the network.
Former NBA player Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major U.S. sports leagues, and was one of the many people on Twitter to express their frustration with the mistake, tweeting a link to Outsports article on the incident.
— Jason Collins (@jasoncollins98) August 9, 2016