The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has issued several apologies online and another one on-air on Wednesday night following an inappropriate gaffe of one of its TV sports commentators.
CBC commentator Byron MacDonald said a defeated Chinese swimmer “died like a pig” during a race, the National Post reported. The comment immediately received a huge online backlash with scores of Chinese netizens and even Canadian audiences expressing their disgust by posting several criticisms on CBC’s Olympic Twitter account.
— Floatingmango (@floatingmango) August 12, 2016
— Sarah Paradis (@sarah_paradis) August 11, 2016
In response to the condemning tweets, CBC responded with a common reply: “We apologize the comment on a swim performance made it to air. It was an unfortunate choice of words – we’re sorry it happened.”
Over 2,300 social media users on China’s micro-blogging site Sina Weibo also called for MacDonald’s immediate dismissal.
During the women’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay final, MacDonald reportedly thought he was no longer on-air when he said: “The little 14-year-old from China dropped the ball, baby. Too excited, went out like stink, died like a pig. Thanks for that.”
MacDonald seemed to be directing his remark at China’s 14-year-old Ai Yanhan, who finished fourth place behind Canada’s Taylor Ruck, who grabbed the competition’s bronze medal. The Chinese swimmer clocked the second leg of the relay at 1:57.79 — just 1.61 seconds short of the Canadian bet.
In a televised public apology aired Thursday, MacDonald said he didn’t mean for his remark as a personal attack.
“I would like to take a moment to apologize for a comment that I made last night after the women’s relay,” MacDonald said. “I was referring to a swimmer’s performance, and not to them as a person. Needless to say, there was no disrespect intended and I’m very sorry.”
MacDonald, who was a former Canadian national team member, was ranked as one of the 10 best swimmers in the world in the 1970s, winning two Commonwealth Games gold medals and participating at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He has also received awards for his work with the CBC as a sports analyst.