27ºF

War of words over Simone Biles' adoptive parents

NBC announcer "regrets" controversial tweet

photo
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


NBC announcer Al Trautwig said Monday he regrets tweeting that the adoptive mother and father of American gymnastics star Simone Biles were not her parents, a declaration that angered advocates for adoption.

Trautwig had been scolded by a woman on Twitter for not referring to Ron and Nellie Biles as the 19-year-old Olympic gymnast's parents. Ron Biles, her maternal grandfather, and his wife Nellie adopted Simone and her sister Adria in 2000 after they spent time in foster care.

NBC ordered Trautwig to delete his tweet.

"To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone's parents," Trautwig said Monday.

Carrie Goldman, who lives outside of Chicago and writes a blog, "Portrait of an Adoption," said NBC and its personnel should not minimize the role of adoptive parents. She said Trautwig should apologize to Biles; NBC had no comment on whether he would.

Simone Biles went to live with her grandparents in Texas while their mother struggled with drugs and alcohol in Ohio, and was adopted when the birth mother's parental rights were terminated. Simone remains in contact with Shanon Biles but is quick to correct anyone who calls Shanon her mother. Shanon Biles is her biological mother, she says. Nellie Biles is mom.

Shortly thereafter, Trautwig said on the air that Simone "was raised by her grandfather and his wife and she calls them mom and dad."

A woman on Twitter then urged Trautwig to stop calling Ron and Nellie her grandfather and his wife. "They are her parents," she wrote. But Trautwig replied in his since-deleted tweet: "They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents."