NBC announcer Chris Marlowe has apologized for referring to the wife of an openly gay female Brazilian beach volleyball player as her "husband."
"I'm sorry for the mistake today. Clearly, Liliane is Larissa's wife," Marlowe said in a statement to Outsports. The match was aired live on NBC today.
After Larissa França and her Brazilian beach volleyball partner Talita Antunes won today to advance to the Olympics Round of 16, NBC's cameras stayed with França as she raced to the stands. The first person she went to was Liliane Maestrini, whom she married in 2013. As the couple hugged and shared a brief kiss, this was the commentary from NBC's Chris Marlowe:
"She gives a hug to Lili. That is her husband. She married Lili in 2013 and Larissa is celebrating with her pals."
Husband? WTF? It's great that NBC is acknowledging a same-sex relationship, but I can only imagine that Marlowe had a brain cramp. I actually rewound the tape a few times to see if there was some man lurking in the background whom França was embracing. It was an odd moment.
This is still an improvement from 2008, when NBC refused to acknowledge the boyfriend of openly gay diver Matthew Mitcham, who was cheering him on in the stands in Beijing as he won a gold medal.
On Monday night, during men's synchronized diving, NBC showed Tom Daley's boyfriend/fiance Dustin Lance Black in the stands, but made no mention of who is was. I guess "husband" is the next step in NBC's evolution of recognizing openly gay athletes who don't hide their sexuality. Let's hope they get it right next time.
Update: NBC did a great profile of Larissa and Lili a few days later.
Here is a shot of Larissa França and Liliane Maestrini from their 2013 honeymoon: