Some of the media covering the 2016 Rio Games is proving that sexism is, lamentably, still a thing.
The Olympics only began on Friday, but there’s already been a series of incidents involving NBC and the Chicago Tribune.
NBC sportscaster Dan Hicks was the first to spark outrage when he appeared to credit Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s husband, Shane Tusup, for her world record-breaking win in the 400-meter individual medley on Saturday. As the cameras panned over to Tusup, who was also Hosszu’s coach, the commentator said, “And there’s the man responsible.”
Twitter users were furious:
Hicks attempted to clarify his comment on Sunday, telling The Associated Press there were often times in live television “when you look back and wished you had said things differently.”
“It is impossible to tell Katinka’s story accurately without giving appropriate credit to Shane, and that’s what I was trying to do,” Hicks added.
The Chicago Tribune also came under fire for an article and tweet about Corey Cogdell-Unrein’s bronze medal-winning performance in the women’s trap shooting event. The tweet focused more on the career of her NFL player husband Mitch Unrein than her own achievement.
As Jezebel pointed out, the Tribune’s article wasn’t much better. The headline ― “Corey Cogdell, wife of Bears lineman Mitch Unrein, wins bronze in Rio” ― only referred to her achievement, but didn’t say in which sport. Nor did the story mention the fact that it was the second medal she’d won at a Games and her third time competing at the Olympics.
The newspaper article later went off on a tangent about her husband, saying the defensive end was in his second season with the Chicago Bears but “was unable to get away from training camp to join her in Rio.”
Again, Twitter users expressed their fury:
Some people defended the newspaper for simply trying to localize the story. Without the Bears connection, the Tribune probably wouldn’t have covered Cogdell-Unrein’s achievement at the Olympics.
NBC was again accused of sexism during its coverage of women’s gymnastics on Sunday, when an as yet unidentified commentator said Team USA members looked like they “might as well be standing in the middle of a mall” after they were caught on camera laughing and talking following their utter annihilation of the competition during the qualifying round.
NBC has not commented on that incident, which came just days after a study by the Cambridge University Press found that in the media’s coverage of sports, men were three times more likely to be mentioned in a sporting context than women -- who, meanwhile, were routinely described with regards to non-sporting issues, such as their age, marital status and appearance.
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