In a strange controversy, NBC’s Olympic boxing announcers will call the remainder of the competition off of monitors in an NBC studio rather than on-site.
NBC’s Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas will not call the remainder of the boxing competition from the ExCel Center in London due to a dispute with the International Boxing Association.
The two had been calling matches from “prime seats relatively close to the ring” (SI.com, 8/11), but officials asked them to relocate to broadcast booths further away from the action. According to the IBA, Papa and Atlas had been “very disturbing … even during bouts they were not broadcasting” (The Guardian, 8/11).
Of note, the broadcasters had been quite critical throughout the Olympics. During a bout between Satoshi Shimizu and Magomed Abdulhamidov, for example, Atlas accused the referee of clearly favoring Abdulhamidov — who initially won despite being knocked down six times.
Reacting to the decision, which was later overturned on appeal, Papa suggested that those involved should “look at themselves and realize why this sport is considered a joke” (New York Daily News, 8/4).
Papa and Atlas declined to comply with the IBA directive and instead did not broadcast from the boxing arena. According to the IBA, the broadcasters “claimed that since no boxers from the USA were still in the running, they didn’t want to stay anyway,” a suggestion that NBC denied through a spokesman (The Guardian, 8/11).
NBC planned to present the remainder of the boxing competition with announcers calling the action off of a monitor.