June 20th, 2011
01:42 PM ET

NBC apologizes for cutting 'Under God' from Pledge of Allegiance

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) -
NBC is calling it a mulligan. During the Sunday broadcast of the final round of golf's U.S. Open coverage the broadcast showed a taped vignette at the beginning of the show.

It featured children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance but omitted them saying the phrase "under God, indivisible."

The video montage showed historic golf footage, patriotic imagery, and landmarks from the nation's capital because this year's tournament was taking place at Congressional Country club just outside Washington.

The rest of the children's recitation of the pledge was presented in full.

On Sunday, social media began to buzz over the edit. The criticism came so fast NBC issued an on-air apology.

NBC's Dan Hicks said on-air, "We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation's capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."

NBC went even farther with their apology on Monday.

Chris McCloskey, vice president for NBCUniversal Sports and Olympics, said in a released statement: "We are aware of the distress this has caused many of our viewers and are taking the issue very seriously.

"Unfortunately, when producing the piece - which was intended to capitalize on the patriotism of having our national championship played in our nation's capital - a decision was made by a small group of people to edit portions of the Pledge of Allegiance.

"This was a bad decision."

He continued, "As soon as management became aware of this decision and the controversy it justifiably created, it immediately took steps to correct it resulting in an on-air apology provided by Hicks, NBC Sports' lead golf commentator.

"It was not the intent of NBC to upset anyone and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended."

If any disciplinary measures will be taken on the matter it will handled internally and not be made public, the network said.

The pledge was originally written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a former Baptist minister, and first appeared in a magazine.

The original text did not include the words, "Under God." That phrase was added by Congress in the 1950s as a response to communism.

The pledge is still widely recited in public schools and is a major part of the citizenship process in the United States when someone chooses to become a U.S. citizen.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Sports • TV

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.