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Monday, August 25, 2008

Double Standards and Double Talk

posted by on August 25 at 17:36 PM

gayolympian.jpg

Asked why they didn’t mention the fact that Australian diver Matthew Mitcham was gay—and that his boyfriend, the man Mitcham credits with getting him back in the sport after a crippling depression that NBC did mention, was sitting in the stands with his mother—when he pulled off a huge upset and won the gold medal, NBC told AfterElton.com

“In virtually every case, we don’t discuss an athlete’s sexual orientation.”

Mentioning the spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends of heterosexual athletes—even discussing a love triangle involving heterosexual athletes—somehow doesn’t equal discussing “an athlete’s sexual orientation.” But mentioning the boyfriend of a male athlete does.

Because, you see, straight people have sex, while gay people have sexual orientations. Please make a note of it.

RSS icon Comments

1

Dude, they'll give you a line every time. They're never wrong, ya know?

But I'm glad someone put the question to them.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | August 25, 2008 5:39 PM
2

Noted

Posted by elswinger | August 25, 2008 5:53 PM
3

Maybe I'm not sensitive to it, being hetero and all, or maybe I just automatically tune out all the bullshit that networks throw at the viewer, but I really didn't notice too many references to significant others even for the hetero athletes. A lot of shots of Phelps' mom, and Misty and Kerri talking babies, but I'm still blissfully unaware of who Yelena Isinbaeva's fucking.

Posted by dbell | August 25, 2008 6:43 PM
4

Agree with you 100% on this one. When it comes to weekend sports television - networks will put ANY DAMN BACKSTORY (dead dog, cousin was in a car accident, someone died at some point during the athlete's life, athlete's favorite game was Scrabulous and can't play online anymore, etc.) to somber piano music and pump the shit out of it in order to give the audience something to cheer for (i.e. a better reason to watch a boring ass game you don't play - no offense, WATCHING sports is freakin' boring).

Not only did they drop the ball on the "boyfriend helps athlete return to the game" angle, but the coming out aspect might have been replete enough with sappy cliches to keep a few viewers riveted as well.

Discounting the slim chance the network wasn't aware of this story, it's probably just case #1,458,000 of "network bosses felt mentioning it = promoting it."

What a bunch of jerks.

Posted by Dougsf | August 25, 2008 6:56 PM
5

[copied from a previous post]

I think the main point about "are they or aren't they [gay, left-handed, albino, Mormon, pitt bull fanciers]?" is that everyone who gets to the Olympics has made great sacrifices. They have worked their butts off, and have been supported emotionally and financially by parents, partners, girl & boy friends, teachers, coaches, colleagues. So when they do achieve sweet victory, how much sweeter it is to share that victory with your groupies.

Does anyone honestly believe that if Michael Phelps were an "out gay" that NBC, Collingsworth, Costas, et.al. would have literally drooled all over him and his mother as much as they did? Seriously.

But if it's OK for Matt Lauer [local DL connection?] and Al Roker to perform a silly mockery of coordinated unitarded ribbon twirling, then maybe it's OK to show Matt Mitcham's boyfriend hugging and kissing him in reward for undoubted athletic perfection and deep requited love.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | August 25, 2008 7:15 PM
6

staight people have sex; gay people fuck each other in the ass. There's a HUGE difference.

Posted by Mike in MO | August 26, 2008 5:40 AM
7

@6 What does staight mean? Did you mean straight? Oh, you made a mistake or you don't spell well. And by the way, anal sex is not limited to gay people. Damn, always trying to educate the intentionally ignorant is hard work. How do you stand it Dan?

Posted by Vince | August 26, 2008 6:31 AM
8

@7: Uh, Vince. Sarcasm.

Posted by Gloria | August 26, 2008 7:43 AM
9

@7: Seriously, Vince, it was clearly a joke.

Posted by Duh | August 26, 2008 7:50 AM
10

Maybe if he was fucking another olympic athlete they'd actually give a shit...

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | August 26, 2008 8:58 AM
11

I at first thought this was one of those tempests in a teapot. But the more I read about it, and after hearing NBC's slap-in-the-face response, I'm feeling might tempestuous about this after all.

The problem, of course, isn't that they neglected Mitcham's boyfriend. Rather they spend WAY too much time on the tedious personal lives of the heterosexual athletes, like it's some highschool drama.

Posted by RDM | August 26, 2008 9:49 AM
12

And once again, Vince's combination of credulity and overreaction leads him to an epic fail. Keep that streak going, guy.

Posted by Greg | August 26, 2008 12:14 PM
13

Yeah, it irked me a bit, but not too much. I pretty much expected NBC to treat it that way, like when Matt was celebrating with his teammates, but BEFORE he went up into the crowd to see his mom & his BF (kid's too young to have a "partner"), the announcer said (kind of hurriedly, I thought) "Well, that's it from the Water Cube!" BIG rolleyes.

But you know what? An out pole-smoker, just like me (well, younger...and blond...and with a perfect body, but who's counting?), STILL won a gold medal. Nobody can take it away from him just 'cause he's a pole-smoker. That's the bottom line.

Remember folks, stuff STILL happens, even if the media doesn't cover it...

Posted by Chris | August 26, 2008 12:15 PM

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