NBC was attempting to extricate itself from the rough Monday after conceding that some of its staffers' aim was off in a produced piece for its golf coverage.
In a letter it is sending to viewers who complained, NBC says the decision to edit the "Pledge of Allegiance" in a piece teeing off its U.S. Open Golf coverage was a "bad decision" made by a "small group of people," and that the controversy it created was justifiable.
In a montage of students reciting the pledge, intercut with images of flags, soldiers and monuments from nearby Washington that aired early Sunday afternoon (June 19), omitted was the phrase "under God," as well as "one nation" and "indivisible."
NBC apologized on-air a few hours later after receiving almost immediate complaints in the twittersphere about the omission of "under God," and according to an NBC Sports spokesman was sending response letters to viewers who had complained about the cuts.
"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," said announcer Dan Hicks in an on-air apology Sunday. "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."
In the letter, a portion of which was supplied to Multichannel News, NBC elaborated:
We understand your concern over the beginning of our U.S. Open coverage on Sunday.
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.
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 NBC Sports' lead golf commentator Dan Hicks.
It was not the intent of NBC to upset anyone and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended.