United States Olympics team should take pride in diversity

Photo courtesy Wikicommons
An op-ed posted by Fox News seemingly disparaged diversity in the Olympics.
Madeline Miller

There is a not-so-well-hidden secret that Fox News does not want anyone to know: It has made social progress its enemy. The latest victim on its chopping block is diversity in the Olympics.

An op-ed written by John Moody, executive vice president and executive editor for Fox News was published on FoxNews.com on Feb. 7. The piece disparaged diversity on the United States Olympics team, and it was removed from the website.

“Were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do,” the column stated, “or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?”

A statement from a Fox News spokesperson claimed that Moody’s piece did not reflect the views or values of Fox News.

The Olympic team is made of 243 athletes. Ten of these athletes are African-American and 10 are Asian-American. Two are openly gay. This hardly seems like the most diverse group possible, and yet, to Moody, the 2018 Olympics have been “darker, gayer, [and] different.” It seems that Moody sees diversity as a setback, when in actuality it is a step forward for the Olympic team and the country.

Diversity in sports was not created overnight, and it did not happen by creating quotas or accepting undeserving athletes. Yes, there are diversity benchmarks and goals, but they are not met by approving less skilled athletes and leaving behind better performers.

Diversity starts at the beginning, when non-white, non-straight, non-Christian children are given the same athletic opportunities as their majority peers. Social stigma and economic disparities have prevented minority children from achieving their true potential since the beginning of time, and white-dominated, expensive winter sports are hardly an exception.

Seeing athletes that look like them is a key component in inspiring children to follow in Olympic footsteps. Under no circumstances should diversity be considered a negative. It encourages kids to pursue avenues that would otherwise seem unavailable to them.

But for Moody, seeing minority athletes succeed despite those obstacles so carefully put into place over generations is a bitter pill to swallow. Although Fox claims the column posted does not align with the views of the company, it’s a wonder they allowed it to be posted in the first place.

They saw this vitriolic, hate-filled piece written by a high-ranking member of staff and decided consciously to publish it to the internet, where ostensibly the goal is to find agreement. To delete the column after it faces rightful backlash is deceptive and cowardly.

Bigots will say many things to excuse their words and actions. They will play devil’s advocate and offer other bigots a platform to be heard under the guise that all opinions deserve respect and an equal voice.

It is simply not true. An opinion that disrespects a person’s existence, that disparages the accomplishments of minorities simply for being minority, does not deserve respect, and, at the very least, it does not deserve a platform.