NBC has already publicly apologized for political comments made during the opening ceremony, and now one broadcaster is taking criticism again for remarks made around marriage during coverage of the women's alpine skiing event Wednesday.
During the giant slalom, NBC Olympics analyst Bode Miller suggested that Austria's former Olympic champion Anna Veith's recent decline was due to the simple fact she recently got married after NBC co-host Dan Hicks said Veith was struggling since tearing her ACL after winning gold in the 2014 Sochi Games.
"The knee is certainly an issue," Miller said. "I want to point out, she also got married. It's historically very challenging to race on World Cup with a family or after being married. You know, not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss that out there that it might be her husband's fault."
There was an awkward pause before Hicks resumed his normal commentary and the network went into commercial break. When they came back on the air, Miller apologized saying his comments were an ill-conceived "joke."
"I apologize," Miller said. "That was an ill-advised attempt at a joke. I was an athlete who competed after marriage, and I know how beneficial it is. I know the support team you need. I relied on my friends and family.
"If you have the luxury of relying on a spouse, inevitably your biggest supporter, and on Valentine's Day, I did not mean to throw spouses under the bus. Certainly I'm going to be hearing it from my wife, I know."
Miller, a six-time Olympian, also issued an apology via Twitter as he wrote, "To be clear I was not seriously blaming Anna Veith's lack of results on her husband. It's a changing of priorities that is historically hard, male or female."
To be clear I was not seriously blaming Anna Veith's lack of results on her husband. It's a changing of priorities that is historically hard, male or female.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 15, 2018
It didn't take long for those watching to weigh in on social media, and the comments weren't so nice.
So Bode Miller said one of the female skiers hasn't been performing as well since she got married. And then passed it off as "Oh, I meant it as a joke." Uh huh. This was the best you could do, @NBCOlympics?— Lauren Smith (@LaurnSmith) February 15, 2018
Did Bode Miller just attribute (is this the right word) a female skiers declining performance over the last few years to being married? I think he just blamed her husband? #NBColympics— Trish S (@TrishSignet) February 15, 2018
@MillerBode did you just say it’s a problem for athletes to be married & the skier’s performance might be her husband’s fault?!?! Is this 1962???— Emma Bircher (@emmajo_lin) February 15, 2018
Marriage & “changing of priorities” has never been mentioned in relation the performance for a male skier yet you identified it as a clear causation for a woman’s performance. This clearly shows the biases of our social norms and it is sad to hear it on this national platform— Megan B (@meganlb312) February 15, 2018
I’m sorry, did Bode Miller just say that a woman might not be able to perform well because of her marriage responsibilities? AND THAT WENT UNCHALLENGED?!?!? @NBCOlympics— Christina Carroll (@cmulka) February 15, 2018