Words Matter: NBC commentator insists Olympian Simone Biles’ adoptive parents “are NOT her parents.”
NBC gymnastics commentator Al Trautwig is learning how to speak about families after failing to refer to American gymnast Simone Biles’ adoptive parents as her actual parents.
Several viewers immediately called him out on social media for the mistake. Twitter user Emily Mingus, asked Trautwig to use the appropriate terms. In a since-deleted tweet, Trautwig fired back: “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.”
The claim was met with immediate pushback, most notably from Biles’ own coach, Aimee Boorman, who weighed in. “Actually they are her parents,” she tweeted at Trautwig.
The Associated Press reports NBC ordered Trautwig to delete the offending tweet, and he sought to “set the record straight” and apologized in a statement.
“I regret that I wasn’t more clear in my wording on the air,” Trautwig’s statement read. “I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected. To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone’s parents.”
The 19-year-old gymnast and her sister were both adopted out of foster care by her maternal grandfather, Ron Biles, and his wife, Nellie. Her biological mother struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.
In an interview earlier this year with USA Today, Simone made absolutely clear she considers the two her parents.
“When I was younger, I was adopted by my grandparents, which are now my parents,” she said. “I call them Mom and Dad. Everything’s just been so normal.”