In the world of television color commentators, there's critical. Then, there's Tim Daggett. The former Olympic gymnast is part of NBC's coverage team for the gymnastics competition this week. Lots of times when Daggett is talking, you don't just want to mute the TV. You want to break the speakers.
He is more negative than a Chinese censor. Monday night during the men's team finals, Sasha Artemev had a long wait before the pommel horse. Slow judging left the American standing on the podium for several minutes. With Team USA needing a big score in the last event from a guy who hadn't performed any other routines that day, the tension was high. Daggett's call: "I don't have a good feeling about this.” Listen, I'm all for color commentators offering their opinions and watching with a critical eye. That's their job. And in the Olympics, it can be easy for TV types to fall into cheerleader mode for the USA. Trouble is, it seems everything Daggett says is negative. That makes it impossible to know when things really and truly are bad. In a high-profile sport that nevertheless struggles with wide-spread understanding, having a commentator who is offering the proper perspective isn't just nice. It's necessary. I've got two words for NBC to consider before the 2012 Olympics: Bart Conner.