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Aussie Announcers in Hot Water for Figure Skating Comments

Jokes about clothes, sexual orientation fall flat

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010  |  Updated 11:48 AM PDT
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Here in the United States, we're used to listening to the ultra-enthusiastic Scott Hamilton explain the differences between a triple lutz and a triple axel. Rarely, if ever, does Hamilton veer off track into social commentary.

Eddie McGuire and Mick Molloy, the skating announcers for Channel Nine in Australia, apparently have a different style. They weren't content to debate the relative merits of Evgeni Plushenko and Evan Lysacek, opting instead for a running dialogue about the clothing choices and sexual orientations of the competitors

As the two commentators watched a procession of skaters appear in ever more outrageous outfits, Molloy remarked: "They don't leave anything in the locker room these blokes, do they?" McGuire responded: "They don't leave anything in the closet either, do they?". ... And when another came on in a Western-inspired costume of overalls and checked shirt, McGuire said it "was a bit of Brokeback".

Molloy added: "A bit of Brokeback Mountain exercises. You can't wear that?" 

The fact that there are people still making "Brokeback Mountain" jokes is almost the most surprising thing about the comments. Almost. But Molloy's comment about American skater Johnny Weir takes the cake. He apologized for suggesting that organizers were shocked to learn that one of the skaters wasn't gay, but then decided he wasn't really all that sorry. 

But as flamboyant US skater Johnny Weir, wearing a black and pink outfit and holding a heart-shaped cushion, took to the ice, he quipped: "But it definitely wasn't this guy."

It all really puts any controversy about a few fleeting obscenities into proper perspective, doesn't it? 

There hasn't been a follow-up apology to that apology, but it's not like there's any point to making one. These guys said all they wanted to say the other night.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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