NBC Ignores Egyptian Olympic Athlete Sent Home Over Anti-Semitism

August 16th, 2016 11:07 AM

On Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported on Egyptian Judo athlete Islam El Shehaby being reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee and sent home after refusing to shake the hand of an Israeli competitor after a match at the Rio games on Friday. While NBC’s local Washington D.C. affiliate WRC-4 posted the report to its website, neither Monday’s NBC Nightly News nor Tuesday’s Today touched the story.

Despite the network having all of its anchors and correspondents in Brazil for exclusive Olympic coverage, NBC could not be bothered to mention the controversy. Instead, it was left to the AP to explain: “The IOC says the Egyptian's conduct ‘was contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic values.’ The IOC says the Egyptian Olympic Committee also ‘strongly condemned’ El Shehaby's actions ‘and has sent him home.’”

In addition to censoring this latest incident of unsportsmanlike conduct, NBC also skipped outrage over the Lebanese Olympic delegation refusing to allow the Israeli delegation to ride on the same bus with them to the August 5 opening ceremony.

Ironically, last week the Today show devoted a full report to concerns over excessive booing at the Olympics, with correspondent Keir Simmons particularly fretting over American athletes scolding Russian athletes who were caught in doping scandals: “American gold medal winner Lilly King accusing her Russian rival....her anti-drugs message supported by Michael Phelps....forcing the IOC to warn athletes not to criticize others.”   

Apparently, Americans justifiably calling out competitors for cheating was more of a controversy to NBC than the open anti-Semitism being displayed by Muslim athletes against Israel.

Within Team USA, all three broadcast networks devoted 100 times more coverage to celebrating American Muslim fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad than to expressions of faith by Christian and Jewish gymnasts like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.