Bigotry about the Olympics defies historical reality

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Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has worked as a producer, reporter and editor at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jones is co-author of “Say it Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete.” She talks politics, sports and culture weekly on Philadelphia’s Praise 107.9FM. The views expressed here are solely hers.

(CNN)The Olympics are one of my favorite sporting events. If we allow ourselves a moment of grace, the Games can be a soothing balm for a nation battered by political divisiveness, racial and gender tension.

Broadcaster Fox News has pulled a column from one of it’s senior executives who complained there were too many gay and ethnic people in the USA’s Winter Olympics team.

John Moody who is the Executive Editor and Executive Vice President at Fox News wrote the offensive collumn ahead of the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Mmody wrote that “unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger.’

“It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to ‘Darker, Gayer, Different.’”

Moody said he was upset that the focus on this year’s games has been on gay and African American athletes, but there are just two gay sportspeople among the 200 strong USA team, and less than 10 per cent of the team are from an ethnic minority.

The two gay athelete’s who have publicly shared that they are same sex attracted are figure skater Adam Rippon and skier Gus Kenworthy.

The pair posted a photograph to social media showing them embracing ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday night.

Moody criticised team officials for delivering a “laundry list” of minorities who are includes in the group when describing the USA’s team.

“A USOC official was quoted this week expressing pride (what else?) about taking the most diverse U.S. squad ever to the Winter Olympics.”

“That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team.

“No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.” Moody wrote.

The executive complained about the USA’s team bowing to ‘political correctness’ by highlighting the diversity in its ranks.

Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said in a statement that Moody should apologise for his comments.

“The executive vice president of Fox News targeted some of our nation’s top athletes with vicious anti-LGBTQ and biased rhetoric at what should be the proudest moment of their lives,

“These athletes are at the Olympics because they already won by qualifying to represent the United States on the world’s stage; and they did so despite facing discrimination from places like Fox News throughout their careers.

“It’s not enough that the column has been removed. Moody should have the decency to apologize to the athletes and fans for this disgraceful post, and Fox News should open their site for diverse athletes to share their own personal stories and perspectives.”

Fox News has told Pink News that they have removed the column because it does not reflect the views of the company.

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