*NBC Sports commentator Al Trautwig has apologized for his insensitive comments on air and on Twitter about the parents of Simone Biles, but Variety is reporting that he was told to do so by the network.
The broadcast veteran, whose career spans 40 years and includes several Olympics, found it necessary to stress that Biles “was raised by her grandfather and his wife and she calls them mom and dad.”
Biles was adopted by her maternal grandparents — Ron and Nellie Biles — as a toddler. She has called them “my parents” in press interviews and in a profile piece that ran Sunday. Trautwig made his controversial comment after the piece aired.
This angered viewers who felt that Trautwig’s “his wife” comments were disrespectful to Nellie and the entire statement refuted how Simone defined their relationship. The broadcaster only added fuel to the flame after posting a (now deleted) tweet that read: “The may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.”
One viewer — who identifies herself as a mother of adopted children — was able to screengrab the tweet before deletion:
— Jen Talley (@jenunexpected) August 8, 2016
NBC reportedly told Trautwig to apologize on Monday. “I regret that I wasn’t more clear in my wording on the air,” he stated. “I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected. To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone’s parents.”
Trautwig’s comments have reignited the discussion about biological versus adoptive parents online, with the majority of respondents saying he spoke insensitively, or ignorantly.
Trautwig has also consistently confused Biles with her teammate Gabby Douglas in his on-air commentary. Both gymnasts are African-American.