Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Frank Deford on Sochi LGBT controversy: send U.S. athletes to Russia, keep U.S. Olympic officials at home

Also: How Sochi officials will break gay "propaganda" law each time they play U.S. national anthem during a medal ceremony; Sovietsky Sport's racist coverage of 2013 IAAF win of Russian women's 4x400 relay team over U.S. team: 'our fair-skinned girls massively beat the black-skinned ones'

Today's installment of Sweetness and Light, sportswriter Frank Deford's commentary aired by NPR, will be available later today at 9 am EST. Here's an excerpt from the piece, entitled How About A Gold Medal For Human Rights For Gay People?

     It was the IOC that got us into this mess, lying down with fleas. Has the outgoing IOC president, a cipher named Jacques Rogge, stuck his neck out? There are six men running to succeed him, including Thomas Bach of Germany, the odds-on favorite. Only one has had the guts to speak out for gay rights: Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico.
     If there was any courage or decency in what is so smugly called the Olympic movement, there is one noble way to handle this. Simple: every country which opposes Russia's ugly anti-gay laws should refuse to send its officials to the Games in Socchi.
     Oh, the Games will go on, all the athletes will be there to compete. NBC will still get its ratings. Big Macs will still roll over the counter. Everybody outside Russia will enjoy the Games, but Vladimir Putin and his thuggish cronies will be sitting alone, shamed, rejected by the decent nations of the world. And thereby will one more gold medal be visible for all to see: the one for human rights for gay people.
     Would our USOC have the guts to lead that way? Well, I'll drink to that dream. A double Stoli, with tonic and a lime, if you please.

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