“Sorry seems to be the hardest word,” Elton John once annoyingly crooned.He’ll get no argument from NBC.During its coverage of the PyeongChang Games, the network seems to be issuing some kind of apology nearly every night. As Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News observed, “If the Olympics gave out medals for apologies, NBC Sports would be in great shape at the 2018 Winter Games.”Patrick Connor can certainly relate. He’s the sports talk-radio personality who, on Dallas Braden’s Sirius XM radio show earlier this week, called 17-year-old U.S. Olympian Chloe Kim a “little hot piece of ass.”Connor profusely apologized via Twitter, labeling himself “a total idiot.” It wasn’t enough. He was fired by Cumulus Media, the parent company for San Francisco station KNBR.Still, when it comes to mea culpas, NBC leads the pack. The latest was delivered by skiing analyst Bode Miller, who during Wednesday night’s telecast, got all sexist on us when he linked the struggles of Austria’s Anna Veith to the fact that she got married in 2016.“The knee is certainly an issue,” he said of Vieth, who suffered brutal knee injuries that caused her to miss the 2015-16 season and much of the next. “I want to point out that she also got married, and it’s historically very challenging to race on the World Cup with a family or after being married. Not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss it out there that it could be her husband’s fault.”Uh-oh. Bad Bode! Open mouth — and insert foot. How much money do you want to wager he’s never said that about a male athlete?Eventually, Miller turned regretful, telling viewers that it was “an ill-advised attempt at a joke. I do apologize.”So now Miller has membership in the ever-growing Media Atonement Club, established during the Opening Ceremony when NBC analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo suggested that South Korea benefitted from Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the country. Ugh.On the same night Katie Couric triggered a backlash in the Netherlands after claiming that skating “is an important mode of transportation” when the canals there freeze over. Wow.NBC dismissed Ramo — and, yes, apologized. Meanwhile, Couric sheepishly tweeted, “My apologies for being on thin ice for my comments re: skating on canals. I was trying to salute your historical passion for the sport but it didn’t come out that way!”But the streak of gaffes didn’t stop there. NBC angered viewers with its coverage of snowboarder Red Gerard, who captured the first U.S. gold of these games. The problem? Gerard’s feat was taped delayed while the network inexplicably chose to air figure skating instead.And then there was Gerard’s jubilant celebration, during which he uttered an F-bomb that made it on air. Oops. Another apology from the NBC, which only a couple nights later had snowboarder Shaun White also drop an on-air expletive.Speaking of White, he too was forced to apologize on NBC’s “Today” show after he casually dismissed, during a press conference, sexual harassment claims leveled against him in 2016 as merely “gossip.” He admitted that “It was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today.”Those claims, presented in a lawsuit that was settled, resurfaced in the media just as White was closing in on a wildly dramatic gold-medal win in the halfpipe. It was the kind of electrifying comeback story that TV craves, so NBC wasn’t about to muck it up with any mention of the lawsuit during prime time.That naturally outraged many viewers, who had watched NBC aggressively promote White as an all-American hero via soft-hearted feature profiles and patriotic commercials. But for this worshipful coverage, there was no apology from the network.Apparently, there are times when “sorry” really is the hardest word.
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