Network TV Drops The Ball……Again

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: September 7, 2008

Beijing 2008 ParalympicsCALIFORNIA – A month ago many Americans watched the Summer Games in Beijing, China on television. Americans cheered their favorite players or watched their favorite sport. The opening and closing ceremonies were extravagant.

Remember the scene of a Georgian woman hugging a Russian woman on the victory stand, while their countries were at war? Americans saw the wonderful pride and joy of the Chinese people who had opened up their country to the world.

It was phenomenal.

This week, the Paralympics began in Beijing and a long standing promise was broken. Two years ago, NBC promised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and disabled Americans they would broadcast part of the Paralympics Games.

In 2006, the network broadcasted an hour of the games each night and many sports advocates had an opportunity to see these athletes in their elements. However, N BC has reneged on their promise and ESPN picked up the baton and stated that they would broadcast part of the Summer Games.

It still has not happened. It seems that college football, the NFL, and Major League Baseball is more important to ESPN and its sponsors than promoting disabled athletes.

Wake up America, we (the disabled) are a growing part of this every shrinking world.

Samsung is currently sponsoring the internet broadcasting of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, but it not enough. More companies should support these talented athletes. Also the American public should have an opportunity to witness the feats of these athletic accomplishments.

American fans of Paralympic and Disabled Sports, are forced to watch media coverage through online broadcasting, or or watch a Chinese station, CTV.

How many Americans understand Mandarian or Cantonese? This writer knows Chinese, but not enough to watch and appreciate the paralympic events. This country has seven major television networks and not a single one will broadcast the games which reveal the courage and skills of disabled athletes in Beijing

Being a disabled athlete I consider this an insult. Certainly it should be corrected before the 2012 Summer Games in London, England. These athletes train just as hard as their non-disabled counterparts and should be given equal press coverage.

After the first day of competition in the new wheelchair accessible Cube, the American team has captured four gold medals. The United States news media has been silent. Where is Michael Phelps or the Redeem Team when you need them?

Should they not be attending? First, they would be examples and mentors, secondly, as Americans with Olympic gold medals. What a thrill it would be for the American Paralympics athlete to witness this support.

Non-disabled Olympians need to help the Paralympians four years from now. We all hope that the world media coverage will be better in London, England.