U.S. snowboarder Shaun White today won his third Gold Medal in the men's halfpipe event, but "details of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by a former female bandmate" have made "renewed appearances in the headlines," according to Tara Sullivan of the BOSTON GLOBE. White following his latest Olympic win was "eventually asked about the allegations ... and he tried to silence an issue he years ago settled out of court by calling it gossip." White said, “I’m here talk about the Olympics, not gossip.” A followup question was then "cut off " by a media rep. White has admitted to sending "sexually explicit text messages and pictures" to the woman who accused him of sexual harrasment, but has called the "entire exchange a consensual joke" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/14). ABC's Amy Robach notes she and "several other women raised our hand to have a question" at White's press conference, but "only men were called on." ABC's Matt Gutman said White "should have expected that that question (about the lawsuit) would come." Gutman: "He probably did expect it, yet when I asked him about those sexual misconduct allegations, he seemed to be caught off-guard." USA Today's Christine Brennan said, "I understand that he would rather not talk about this, but I don't know that he gets to make that call" ("GMA," ABC, 2/14). White appeared on NBC's "Today" this morning and apologized for using a "poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today" ("Today," NBC, 2/14).
PART OF THE WHOLE PACKAGE: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan writes as the fallout of the #MeToo movement "reverberates across America, cases such as White’s can confuse those who want to appreciate achievement and yet find themselves abhorred by the behavior of those who achieve." However, to act like the Pyeongchang Games "exist in a vacuum is hubristic, and to separate action and actor is impossible." The Olympics and White are "part of a greater world, one in which norms are changing and a culture that once allowed mistreatment of women is no longer acceptable" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/14). USA TODAY's Martin Rogers writes White is "still a gold medalist of course, but being anointed as the greatest requires special factors beyond the arena of performance." The allegations are a "part of his story now, and will remain so" (USATODAY.com, 2/14). ESPN's Mike Golic Jr. said it was "weird to see the dichotomy" between the two sides of White -- Olympic star and alleged harasser -- and it "made me uncomfortable." Golic: "You want to see the accomplishment and understand what it means for the Olympics. But you see the way it was dismissed in the press conference by him and the U.S. Snowboarding PR person, and you can't help but feel uncomfortable" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 2/14).
FOCUS ON OLYMPIC LEGACY: In Salt Lake City, Aaron Falk writes White "cemented his already impressive Olympic legacy with his third gold medal." White at the base of the halfpipe after his final run "wiped away tears, took selfies with fans" and draped himself in an American flag. White then said that he was "already thinking about his next trip to the Olympics and an opportunity to add to his legacy: a chance to win a skateboarding medal" in the '20 Tokyo Games (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 2/14). The AP's Will Graves noted White's win made him the "first American male to win gold at three separate Winter Olympics." The Gold Medal was also the "100th overall gold for the United States in the Winter Games" (AP, 2/13).
FACE OF A REVOLUTION: In California, Scott Reid writes it was "fitting the Team USA’s 100th Winter Olympics gold medal was won by the athlete who more than any other pushed the Games into the 21st Century." White is the athlete who "most personified what has been called the Californication of the Winter Olympics, the push toward X Games style sports in hopes of higher ratings among a younger demographic." He is the "rare non-skating Winter Olympian to reach household name status" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/14). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Brian Costa notes snowboarding has been part of the Winter Games since '98, but "even as the sport moved from its counterculture roots into the mainstream, it didn’t have a crossover star." White "changed that." His Gold Medal at the '06 Turin Games "started a run that would make him one of America’s most recognizable Olympians." He became as much a "commercial success as an athletic one." His array of sponsors and entrepreneurial ventures "helped make him in some ways bigger than the sport itself" (WSJ.com, 2/14).