NBC reportedly convinced a veteran Olympics announcer to do some damage control after he angered viewers with comments about U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ family. As we reported previously, Al Trautwig riled up adoptive parents and others by refusing to acknowledge Biles’ grandparents as her parents even though they adopted her as a toddler and raised her.
The issue began over the weekend with on-air coverage of Biles as she competed in Rio, then moved online and got worse when Trautwig sent out a tweet attempting to answer his critics.
Following a profile of Biles that aired Sunday on NBC, in which Ron and Nellie Biles were identified as Simone’s parents, Trautwig added his own on-air comments, saying the gymnast “was raised by her grandfather and his wife and she calls them mom and dad.”
That got social media talking, and Trautwig decided to join the conversation after he received a tweet saying, “Hey @AlTrautwig stop calling her PARENTS her grandfather and his wife. A. Nelly is more important than “his wife” B. THEY ARE HER PARENTS.”
The veteran sportscaster responded with his own tweet saying: “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.” The tweet was soon deleted, but the damage was done.
NBC on Monday reportedly told Trautwig to apologize, and Trautwig later issued a statement saying: “I regret that I wasn’t more clear in my wording on the air. I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected. To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone’s parents.”