Sunday, August 24, 2008

NBC, the Olympics, and the openly gay gold medal winning diver

One of yahoo's bloggers for their Fourth-Place Medal Olympics blog noted that the only openly gay athlete of these games won gold in diving (breaking up the impressive run that the Chinese had in diving). Not only is he openly gay, Maggie Hendricks notes:

He is hardly the first gay athlete to compete but he is one of the first to be out while competing

The big news (if you can call it that), since it's hardly a secret that this man is gay?

NBC didn't mention it. Maggie again:

NBC did not mention Mitcham's orientation, nor did they show his family and partner who were in the stands. NBC has made athletes' significant others a part of the coverage in the past, choosing to spotlight track athlete Sanya Richards' fiancee, a love triangle between French and Italian swimmers and Kerri Walsh's wedding ring debacle.

The military seems ready to allow gays to serve openly (I remember seeing at about 75% support from current troops for this but I don't have any stats; there was something on Ed Brayton's blog about this a few months ago), the ballot measure to overturn their state's supreme court ruling that legalized gay marriage seems likely to fail, several tv shows and movies have had openly gay characters (including NBC's Will and Grace -- and the network decides not to mention that this guy is gay.

Furthermore, sports is one area in which gays tend to be closeted (perhaps more so anywhere except among the republicans) -- recently an ex-NBA player came out. From his story it sounds like gays are unlikely to come out anytime soon in basketball or football (consider the homophobic songs of Allen Iverson from a few years ago as one reason why).

Mitcham tries not to make a big deal out of being gay and I have no problem with that. But not mentioning that he is gay and that his partner and family are there (he did win the gold medal, after all) makes a deal out of it. They certainly didn't have to dwell on it -- they could have panned over to his family, including his partner, use the word 'partner' or some other time when introducing him, and then not talked about it (I wonder how many people would even have noticed?).

I guess that puts an end to the "theory" that the media is (are?) actively endorsing homosexuality and encouraging people to be gay.


Al Iverson said...

Hey, I assume you mean NBA basketball player Allen Iverson? He's not Al Iverson, I me. I'm just a random anti-spam fighter guy. I don't want to be incorrectly labeled a homophobe-- any chance you can update your post to refer to Allen and not me? Thank you muchly.

Nada Platonico said...

Al -- I made the change. Sorry for any confusion. (Though unless you play basketball and have recorded songs, then there wasn't (or shouldn't have been) any confusion any way; but better safe than sorry.)

Al Iverson said...

Nada, thank you. :)

larryniven said...

And NBC certainly didn't want for opportunities - there really was a surprising amount of diving coverage, during which they managed to say the same few things a very large number of times (in a tribute to the gymnastics announcers, perhaps?), and they certainly didn't shy away from delving into the other athletes' personal lives. But this is all in the spirit of the Beijing Olympics, is it not? Bob Costas was maybe the only one on a major TV network who was even remotely interested in bringing his morals with him to China, and even the athletes balked at opening their mouths (I'm looking at you, LeBron). I'm really quite disappointed - I thought this was supposed to be an opportunity to further the advancement of equality through sports, not use sports as a shiny, shiny distraction from all the things that contribute to inequality.