NBC Sports could have another “London-Munich” news reporting dilemma on its hands Feb. 14 when the Sochi, Russia, Olympics kicks off.
Gay rights are the issue this time.
In London in 2012 the International Olympic Committee declined to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. NBCs Bob Costas, in turn, overruled the IOC by mentioning the murders during the opening ceremonies.
Russia recently passed antigay statutes and has vowed to arrest those with pro-gay protests in mind … and on placards. The Russian government also reportedly declined to allow a so-called Pride House at the games; Pride Houses, which welcome LGBT athletes and fans, have been a presence at world events for several years, including at the Vancouver and London Olympics, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which reported the story from Los Angeles Saturday after a Television Critics Association press event.
“We’ll address it at the time because it’s still unfolding,” said NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus, who last week unveiled his company’s new headquarters for 500 employees in Stamford. He said the IOC has taken up the issue with the Russian government.
“The IOC has addressed it with the Russian government and has assured athletes, fans and media that there won’t be any issues,” Lazarus said. “Governments across the world have different laws. I don’t know how it’s going to affect us. If it is still their law and it is impacting any part of the Olympic Games we will make sure we are acknowledging it and recognizing it.”