A Fox News executive is either a screaming bigot or a complete and total buffoon.
In an online editorial titled, “In Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race — not the race of the winner,” Fox News VP John Moody came out blasting with both barrels, suggesting the U.S. Olympic Committee is sabotaging its chances of winning in the Winter Olympics by selecting diverse athletes instead of the most talented ones.
Reacting to a Washington Post story that details how the team competing in South Korea will be the most diverse U.S. Winter Olympics squad ever, Moody was embarrassed we will be represented by black, Asian and even two gay athletes.
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“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.’ If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work,” Moody wrote.
“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.”
First off, why is it “embarrassing” that the United States will be represented by 10 African-American athletes, 10 Asian-American athletes and two gay athletes? The U.S. is a melting pot, and if our national teams look a little more like our society looks, why is that a bad thing?
You know who was also adamant that his Olympic teams all look and act a certain way?
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In 1936, Margaret Lambert, born Gretel Bergmann, was the best high jumper in Germany. She was a favorite to win the gold medal in the upcoming Olympics, but she was also Jewish, and days before the Games, she was disqualified from participating.
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“I don’t forgive Germany for what they did,” a 102-year-old Lambert said in a recent documentary about her experience. “Never, never, never forget.”
We won’t forget, which is why when people make ridiculous statements and bogus complaints about the evolving demographics of our Olympic teams, it should raise a red flag.
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Second, Jason Thompson, the USOC’s director of diversity and inclusion who was quoted in the story that sent Moody flying off the handle, did not say his job is to stack teams with minorities at the expense of winning. What Thompson said is American Winter Olympics teams have always been less diverse than our Summer teams and he’s happy to see the team we’re sending abroad more closely aligning with the multi-cultural demographics of our country.
This year, Team USA has 243 athletes in South Korea, the largest Winter team we’ve ever assembled, but only 20 are minorities. By comparison, almost a quarter of the 2016 Summer Olympics team was black.
“We’re not quite where we want to be,” Thompson said. “I think full-on inclusion has always been a priority of Team USA. I think everybody’s always felt it should represent every American.”
Nothing wrong with that. But what Thompson did not say — but Moody somehow heard — is the USOC is more interested in picking minorities instead of winning, that our most elite athletic teams are more interested in being politically correct than excellent. That is complete nonsense.
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That bigoted belief (or perhaps it was intentionally skewed that way) is also consistent with the politics pushed by Fox News, a network that endorses the ideas and politics of Vice President Mike Pence. As governor of Indiana, Pence’s policies were especially tough on gays — he had the law changed in 2013 to make it a felony for a gay couple to apply for marriage. Rachel Maddow once called Pence “the most vociferously and consistently anti-gay statewide elected official in the country,” and yet he wonders why gay American figure skater Adam Rippon doesn’t care to meet him.
“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon told USA Today this week.
Pence called the story “fake news” and posted an encouraging tweet directed at Rippon.
“I want you to know we are FOR YOU,” Pence wrote. “Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!”
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This is Pence telling Rippon to forget the past, forget that he pushed one of the worst anti-gay agendas in the country when he was governor. But who can forget the past when columns like the one that appeared on Fox News this week continue to be written?
What the USOC was talking about, and what the article was really about, is that winter sports are often expensive and geographically limited, factors that typically leave out minorities or disadvantaged kids. Poor, black kids, for example, aren’t growing up skiing, so part of what the USOC is trying to do, through working with grassroots programs around the country, is to make these sports more accessible to a wider population. The horror!
To those of us who aren’t embarrassed that our country will be represented by minorities, making these sports more accessible sounds like a good thing. Above all, it shows the USOC is looking to get better, to bring more sports to more athletes, to broaden our horizons, to diversify the makeup of our olympic teams to be truly representative of this nation — and win more medals.
Shani Davis, who is black, is a four-time Olympic medalist with two golds and is one of the most decorated speedskaters in the world. Black bobsledder Aja Evans is going to her second Olympics. She won a bronze at the 2014 Games. Despite the fact his dad is Japanese, retired speedskater Apolo Ohno was an eight-time medalist and won the gold twice. And even though he is gay, retired figure skater Brian Boitano also managed to win a gold medal.
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Fox News later removed the piece from its website, telling the Daily News in a statement:“John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed.”
But isn’t it ironic that the Fox News crowd, the same people who say they are all about making America Great Again, never fail to reveal their bias and let it stand in the way of achieving that greatness?
Or maybe Moody isn’t a bigot at all. Maybe he just completely missed the point of the story that triggered him.
And that makes him a complete and total buffoon.
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