Right now the 2012 London Paralympics are going on. Thousands of disabled athletes are competing in various sports. Many countries around the world are showing the events on TV. And in the USA; the NBC Sports Network is showing Canadian Football. Yes; instead of showing our athletes who worked hard to qualify to get to the Paralympics the NBC Sports Network is trying to get the American Audience hooked to the Canadian Football League. Their football is different by the way; there are 110 yards including a 55 yard line in the game. Plus their goal posts is right on the touchdown line. Birmingham used to have a CFL team for one year called the Barracudas but that did not last long.
NBC was criticized for their tape delay coverage of the regular Olympic Games. And now they are being criticized for the lack of coverage of the Paralympic Games. Sure they are going to show a couple of one hour specials for one week on their sports network. And they will show a 90-minute wrap-up after the Paralympics are over. But I find this is as a disgrace for all people who have a disability. Dick Traum, president and founder of Achilles International, a New York-based organization that supports athletes with disabilities, said in an interview. “They could also be doing great things for the disabled community by bringing more focus on it.” But Chris McCloskey, a spokesperson for the NBC network, said they are “presenting all the coverage that our rights permit.”
At least I am not the only one who is criticizing NBC. Aimee Mullins, the chef de mission of the US Paralympic Team, called the lack of coverage “disappointing.” The UK Disabled People’s Council called the lack of coverage “really, really appalling.” An online petition was launched by Damon Herota of Florida. He told the Daily Mail “It’s a sign of disrespect, especially to those military veterans who are competing. Attitudes are supposed to have changed since the days of Vietnam, when veterans were ignored. What message does this send?”
I find this action by NBC as an embarrassment and a disrespect to all people with disabilities. It’s like having NBC say “we don’t care about people with disabilities, they all should be sent off to la-la land.” Many of the people competing in the Paralympics are military veterans who were injured while serving their country. It is also like having NBC say “we don’t care about our military veterans. They should sit on the streets.” I checked the NBC Olympics website today and there is no mention of the Paralympics on their front page. It’s like they just don’t care.
There are great organizations in Alabama who care about the disabled community. Lakeshore Foundation is a training site for the Paralympic athletes and the facility has helped to train many athletes to compete in the Paralympics. Plus places like Glenwood and the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind provide opportunities for the disabled. Other countries around the world like Channel 4 in Great Britain are showing hundreds of hours of Paralympic Coverage. Their video called Meet the Superhumans is inspiring!
If NBC does not want to show the Paralympic coverage why would other networks like ESPN not step up to the plate? Oh that’s right; we have to talk about college football all week-long and show numerous games on Saturday. I understand the need to show college football on Saturdays but for the rest of the week they could show some Paralympic coverage. I hope in 2016 either NBC or another network will show more Paralympic coverage. Because they deserve the recognition for all their hard work! Just like me; I have Asperger’s Syndrome and I want people to see the good things that I do instead of being ignored. I am still searching for my 14th job in seven years and have been unemployed for 14 months now. I really don’t want to take the Social Security Disability route because I have something to show. I just wish more people would take people with disabilities more seriously instead of just blowing them off.
You can watch many live events of the London Paralympics on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ParalympicSportTV.
By the way here are some awesome pictures from the Paralympics Opening Ceremony I took off from the live broadcast on YouTube.
- Ex-Marine’s journey from homelessness to Paralympics (worldnews.nbcnews.com)
- Channel 4 Gives Blanket Coverage to Paralympics, While NBC Falls Short (pbs.org)
- Hey America! You should be watching the Paralympics, it’s fab! (And how you can watch….) (fanbloomingtastic.typepad.com)
- Why I Love the Paralympics (pixiemumbles.wordpress.com)
- NBC Sports Gets Desperate, to Air 14 Canadian Football League Games This Year (nesn.com)
- Do you know the London 2012 Paralympics are coming? (fanbloomingtastic.typepad.com)
- London 2012 Paralympics: ‘Why should the public think of it differently just because somebody’s only got one leg?’ (standard.co.uk)
- Nothing but praise for way NBC Sports Network carries the CFL (balanceoffood.typepad.com)
- Desperate For Live Programming, NBC Sports Network Turns To Canadian Football [Cfl] (deadspin.com)