An Open Letter to NBC and Christin Cooper

Dear NBC and Christin Cooper,

How lucky you are that Bode Miller has become such a class act. How lucky you are the he has jumped to your defense, even though you did such a horrible thing to him. You should really be sending him the great big “We-are-so-sorry-and-we-know-we-can-never-make-up-for-this-but-we’re-apologizing-anyway” basket of fruit right about now. Because that thing you did? You know the thing I mean, that thing where you, Ms Cooper, stuck your salted finger in his wound poked it around and around, and then you kept the cameras rolling for a good long minute afterwards – that thing – it was very, very wrong.

Now, I know most of you are sports journalists, and my college journalism professor would roll his eyes whenever anyone said he or she wanted to be a sports journalist, so let me spell this out for you, in case you don’t know why it was so very very wrong.

I’m not inside Bode Miller’s head, but I am a bereaved parent, and my older stepbrother took his own life ten years ago. I know what grief and loss are. Through my work with The Compassionate Friends*, I’ve been helped by and worked with many parents and siblings who are in various stages of grief. So although I’m not inside Bode Miller’s head, this is what I’m fairly sure you didn’t do; you didn’t remind Bode Miller of his brother’s death. I’m fairly certain that Bode Miller needs no reminding of that. We, the bereaved, do not forget our loved ones.

This is what you did do – you pushed Mr. Miller and pushed him. You assumed what his feelings ought to be. You told him what he should be feeling.  And then when his feelings overwhelmed him and he broke down, you put him on display. How dare you!

Ms. Cooper, I understand you are one of five children. I hope your siblings are all alive and well. I hope you don’t have to experience what Mr. Miller, and I, and so many others have experienced. And if you ever do, I hope you don’t run into insensitive clods who think that it’s appropriate to emotionally bully you in the name of good television.

Oh, and just in case you might be wondering what appropriate things to say might be – here are a few. You might want to practice in a mirror:

1) I’m sorry your brother couldn’t be here to celebrate with you this time. I hope you know there are so many people here who hold you.

2) I know there’s nothing I can say that makes up for the absence of your brother. We’re thinking of him, also.

3) Congratulations.

4) Nearly anything other than what you did say.

I believe I mentioned the part where Bode Miller is a class act for defending you when there is really no defense. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t mean to make him break down. It was creepy, and you came off as bullies. Because you were. You showed no compassion, and what’s worse, you modeled behavior that might make some people think that showing no compassion is the way to go.

It’s time for you to learn some class.  Maybe you could get some tips from Bode Miller.

Sincerely,

Madelyn Campbell,

The Mite-y Widow

*The Compassionate Friends is an international bereaved parents (and siblings and grandparents) mutual support group.

 

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