Al Trautwig, NBC’s gymnastics announcer at the Rio Games, apologized Monday for suggesting that Simone Biles’ parents through adoption are not really her parents.
“I regret that I wasn’t more clear in my wording on the air,” he said in a statement emailed by NBC Sports. “I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected. To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone’s parents.”
Ron and Nellie Biles adopted Simone and her younger sister, Adria, in 2001. The girls had spent time in foster care as Shanon Biles, their biological mother and Ron’s daughter, struggled with drugs and alcohol.
Trautwig referred to Ron and Nellie as Biles’ grandparents on Sunday’s NBC primetime broadcast. When a woman tweeted Trautwig to say that he should call them her parents, he tweeted: “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.”
— Jen Talley (@jenunexpected) August 8, 2016
Trautwig deleted the post but it was preserved by users who retweeted or screen-grabbed it. The hashtag #FireTrautwig gained traction on Twitter.
Aimee Boorman, Biles’ longtime coach, also chimed in, tweeting: “@AlTrautwig actually they are her parents.”
@AlTrautwig actually they are her parents.
— Aimee B (@Salto_Coach) August 8, 2016
NBC said in a statement: “We became aware of the situation last night and addressed it with Al quickly.”
Trautwig was reviled by some gymnastics fans even before the controversy on Sunday night, and he is often derided on the corner of social media known as the Gymternet.
On the podcast GymCastic, host Jessica O’Beirne said, “Could he be any more insensitive and cruel? He is disgusting. How does he still have that job?”
Source: USA Today | Erik Brady and Rachel Axon