Racist Announcer Watch: Olympic Edition

August 2, 2012

I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the Olympics this year because I really don’t have anything new to say.  According to my analytical survey of the internet there are roughly infinity words written about the Olympics every day.  But my fans have been very insistent about getting some Olympics Raw Thoughts.  I have been bombarded with tweets (1) and texts (2) about when the next post is coming out so I decided to step up to the plate and give the people (person) what they want.

The main story of the Olympic Games so far has been the atrocious television coverage by NBC.  I’m sure all of you have noticed that NBC’s barbaric tape-delay rules and streaming website technology that would have been state of the art in Kazakhstan in 2002 have made it impossible to watch the high-profile events live.  Unfortunately the incompetence on the part of NBC has spread well beyond production decisions and into the actual commentary.  I am about 95% sure that none of the NBC announcers have any idea what they are talking about when they discuss things like archery or handball or any of the other weird Olympic sports.  Unfortunately since I have no idea whats going on in these sports either I can’t call NBC out for lack of expertise.  That would be the pot calling the kettle athletic.  NBC announcers will not be getting a free pass from me however.  I have spent the Olympics so far keeping a tally of the subtle and casual use of racial and national stereotypes by announcers.  That’s right.  Its time for the Racist Announcer Watch: Olympics Edition.

(If you are new to the blog check out previous editions of the Racist Announcer Watch for the rules of the game.)

This year the undisputed champion of the Racist Announcer Watch: Olympics Edition is J.P. Dellacamera.  Dellacamera is a former US Soccer player and has been calling Olympic soccer for MSNBC.  During a game between Great Britain and Senegal last Thursday Dellacamera launched himself into the Racist Announcer Watch hall of fame by repeatedly calling out the Senegalese team for being aggressive, overly physical and “uber-athletic.”  His crowning moment came about ten minutes into the second half however when he dropped this bomb.  “I played a lot of international games against African teams.  You have to be careful about there.  They get stuck into challenges a little bit harder and for a little bit longer than most teams.  It’s just in their nature.”  That’s like the Austin Rivers shot of announcer racism.

Dellacamera has been far from the only offender however.  In fact pretty much everyone who has called a sport involving the Chinese has been guilty to some extent.  Announcers are openly and loudly cheering against Chinese athletes.  This situation came to a head when 16 year old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen won the 400 IM in stunning fashion.  She was immediately suspected of doping by announcers and competitors alike with the main evidence being that she is from China and Chinese swimmers are known for doping.  (In fairness that chick is definitely on steroids.  But not because she is from China.  She is clearly cheating because she swam the final leg of her race at the same speed Ryan Lochte did in his 400 IM.  A 16 year old girl swimming the same speed as a 28 year old man is suspicious regardless of nationality.)

In addition to these two egregious examples the Olympics have been littered with the usual descriptions of black athletes as “Athletic” or “Explosive” and white athletes as “Hard Workers” or “Gritty.”  I think its pretty clear that everyone at the Olympics is very athletic and very hard working.

I realize that almost everyone watching the Olympics roots against China, and many people (myself included) find themselves stereotyping athletes.  This is unavoidable.  I do think its fair however to expect the people who get paid to announce sporting events be held to a higher standard.


3 Responses to “Racist Announcer Watch: Olympic Edition”

  1. RawThoughtsBritishFriend said

    To be fair the senegalese were committing some atrocious fouls and were getting away with murder out there.

  2. culturecoachintl said

    Could not agree with you more. Some of those announcers made things pretty awkward, particularly when Ye Shiwen had just won her event for the first time. It’s a little late, but am also writing something about it too:


  3. Markymark said

    Please check your facts armchair fan, Lochte had a big lead so eased off in the last 50.

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