NBC's Joshua Cooper Ramo issues late apology after controversial comments

Better late than never?

Five days after words that set off a firestorm, NBC analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo has issued an apology for comments he made during the PyeongChang Olympics opening ceremonies, comments that got him taken off the network’s coverage of the event.

“I sincerely apologize to anyone offended by my comments during the Opening Ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics last Friday,” Ramo’s statement began. “I did not intend to minimize or disrespect a part of Korean history that must never be forgotten. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are a tribute to all that this impressive host nation has accomplished and to its future. Korea has forged a unique, powerful and important path of development based on Korean values and experiences.

“It is also a country to which I feel a deep personal connection, where I have many warm friendships ad fond memories from years of travel, so this makes me particularly regret any distraction. I hope for a successful Olympics in the spirit of peace and unity these Games represent.”

On Friday, as Japan entered the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies, Ramo said, “Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.”

Many Koreans were offended by Ramo’s remarks, given the history between Korea and Japan. Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945, and particularly during the early part of that time, Japanese rule was oppressive, ruling through the military and crushing any attempts at dissent.

NBC apologized on Saturday, with studio anchor Carolyn Manno reading a statement on-air. It specifically mentioned Koreans who had been “insulted” by Ramo’s comments. An unnamed NBC Sports official told the Korea Times that the network had also sent a letter of apology to the PyeongChang Organizing Committee.

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