March 20th, 2009
02:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Special Olympics asks Obama to consider hiring athlete

Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics.
Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics.

(CNN) - The Special Olympics organization is calling on President Obama to "consider" hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House, following the president's reference to the organization during his Thursday night appearance on The Tonight Show.

“In so doing, he could help end misperceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Timothy Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics, said in a statement released Friday morning.

iReport: What do you think about the president's comments?

Shriver also said the president was heartfelt in his apology, but added "words hurt and words matter."

"Words can cause pain and result in stereotypes that are unfair and damaging to people with intellectual disabilities,” Shriver said in the statement. “And using "Special Olympics" in a negative or derogatory context can be a humiliating put-down to people with special needs.”

Earlier: Obama apologizes for Special Olympics comment

Full Statement [PDF]


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If someone an inch and they want to take a mile. Kick rocks Shriver. You got your apology, now get back to work. I can't believe the audacity of some people.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Give someone an inch and they want to take a mile. Kick rocks Shriver. You got your apology, now get back to work. I can't believe the audacity of some people.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. PJP

    Give me a break!!!! Shriver probably just wants a job in the white house somewhere.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Carmon

    Oh C'mon give me a break. Rush puts down all races of all sizes, I don't see anyone asking him for a job. PLEEEEEZZ!

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. anonymous

    The most important quality in a grown-up society is the ability to laugh at ourselves. Americans seem to have lost it. A sense of humour should be mandatory for all public officials and those in charge of making the rules.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. John from LA

    Good for them-I hope BO LEARNS to be a bit more sensitive to this group of people. Hey BO-mean what you say and say what you mean!

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. vicki

    It was honst "mistake" on Obama side. No drama or big deal need to make out of this. Period.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Agnes

    I have a cousin who has Downs Syndrome and she is the sweetest person in the world. No one should be made fun of.

    March 20, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Amy Jacobson

    I see a pattern: do something STUPID, then apologize and hope it goes away...

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Jenny

    GET OVER IT!

    It was funny! The point of it was to be funny and it was funny!

    My son participates in Challenger's Bowling and I was not offended.

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Barry and the Dems are going down

    Why not? They already have a bunch of retards working in the administration. Would one more make a difference? On a lighter note: Isn't Barry's wife special needs? She looks a little learning disabled to me...maybe Downs syndrome or something. : ) Doesn't she count?

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Joe

    OK, stop tearing your clothing and screaming "blasphemer!" He slipped up, he apologized. End of story.

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Walt Hopkins

    Mr Shriver, please be understanding of the fact that the American people already put one of your Special Olympics persons into the Oval Office. Shame on you for your insensitivity about this.

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Lee D.

    The comment was made in the context of joke when the president was having some fun with Jay Leno. Lighten up already. This is exactly why public figures shy away from interviews and situations where they can let their hair down. There is always some individual, or group, trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. It was a great show, plain and simple. Move on!

    March 20, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Barry and the Dems are going down

    Why not? They already have a bunch of retards working in the administration. Would one more make a difference? On a lighter note: Isn't Barry's wife special needs? She looks a little learning disabled to me…maybe Downs syndrome or something. : ) Doesn't she count??

    March 20, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  16. Delegate from California

    I am dissapointing that President Obama made that comment.

    I worked for Special Olympics Northern California for almost four years helping run a program that helps 14,000 athletes. If you never have been expose or know anyone with intelectual disabilities than is not a big deal to you, but we have to work hard to stop people for making fun and using the R word.

    I am no longer with Special Olympics but still volunteer. I was elected as a Delegate to the 2008 DNC, even do at first I was not an Obama supported at the convention I did became and worked hard on his campaign to elect him. It would be great for him to attend on 03/31/2009 at an event to Stop the R word as an example if He really means the apology to this amazing community and make awarness!!!

    Please stop using the R word and take time to get to know this amazing people!!!

    Delegate from California CD 10th

    March 20, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. RJN

    You see it's not only white people who make a mistake in speaking.
    I'm glad they called him out.

    Funny if it's a white person says something stupid, it's racist or bias. An African- American says something stupid, it's a human error.
    " Something to think about ".

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. NW

    Should have said "the McCain Campaign" instead.

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    He already has one.

    Joe Biden.

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Elle

    Wow, so Shriver isn't wasting any time taking advantage of the Presidential slip-up, is he?

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. CL OT

    I think he should be our new fed cheif. Can't do any worse than the guy in there now...

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Pat, CA

    Carmon March 20th, 2009 11:36 am ET
    Oh C'mon give me a break. Rush puts down all races of all sizes, I don't see anyone asking him for a job. PLEEEEEZZ!
    ------------
    Clearly you have never listened to Rush Limbaugh! But don't let that deter you from forming an opinion about him!

    March 20, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Bob

    I am offended. he appologized to someone at the Special Ed Olympic headquarters, not to me or my daughter

    March 20, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. kevin-pa

    oh Francis, there are few metally challenged people forking for the WH
    Those are name is Barack, Obama, the other one is Timothy Geithner

    March 20, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. Jay

    Pres. Obama doesnt care about people with special needs because he is for abortion and seems to me he'd rather not see them around. Everyone deserves to live.

    March 20, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11