For this year’s Olympics, there’s been a recent rash of athletes going naked. Amanda Beard stripped off her swimsuit again, but for PETA this time and not Playboy. British cyclist Rebecca Romano went biking in the buff for a Powerade ad.
And now NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol adds to the air of going au natural, suggesting that he’d rather see his employees without clothes than without their visas.
NBC Sports’ John Walters explains that Dick made the unusual declaration during an NBC Production Seminar, where the network & staff were working on preparations to broadcast the Beijing Games.
Walters describes the cautionary words emitted from Ebersol:
Anyway, I feel incredibly privileged to be here, but China is not without its potential hazards. When our fearless leader, Dick Ebersol, addressed us, he warned us never to go outside without our work credentials/visas. “I’d rather you go out naked with your visa than with your clothes on and without one.”
So, should we expect a bunch of pale-skinned TV crew members wandering around Beijing in their birthday suits, with credentials strategically placed? Only if they don’t mind an unpleasant stay in Parts Unknown:
Mr. Ebersol (I call him Mr. Ebersol) then reminded us that we were no longer in the land of civil liberties and pending litigation. If the Chinese police apprehend us, he told us, they are allowed to hold us for 96 hours without informing anyone of our whereabouts. Four days of utter isolation…if Mr. Ebersol only knew how many times this summer I would have welcomed such relief.
So, take heed, international Olympic broadcasting employees - don’t forget your documents. However, since you’re all in China right now, you probably can’t even access this vital information.