sochi-protest-ban-olympics

Olympic rings at the Sochi airport. (Photo credit: Alexey Maishev)

For the record, Peter makes awesome videos, both in style and substance.

Also for the record, the recent law passed by the Russian Duma banning so-called propaganda of nontraditional relations to minors is hideous. Not necessarily because the Russian authorities in Sochi will be arresting athletes, journalists, or foreign spectators who are gay or show support for the gay rights cause by wearing a rainbow lapel pin – because they will not, and anybody who thinks otherwise does not understand a thing about Russia. And not because a gay teenager playing hockey somewhere in Ryazan or Ekaterinburg will now be prevented from coming out to his teammates – believe me, that kid is facing other, much more serious problems in his life, like getting through another day without being beaten into a bloody pulp. Will the law contribute to worsening of the public attitude towards gay rights? For sure. Will it be used against someone whose words or action rub the government the wrong way? Perhaps, but so could any other law in Russia. In my opinion, the real victims in this mess could be the many thousands of gay parents in Russia, who will now live their lives in fear of losing their children, adopted or biological. In their cases, how in the world do you avoid violating the aforementioned law – aren’t parents supposed to be role models for their kids, especially when they are minors?

Ilya Kovalchuk

Ilya Kovalchuk did not mince words.

Having said that, the current spectacle surrounding this important issue is nothing short of amazing – and not in a good way. As the national teams on both sides of the ocean attend their ice-deprived gatherings, everybody in the media seems to be obsessed with finding out what the players think about the law. And while the comments from the North American players are largely along the lines of what we expect from the guys who grew up in Canada and the USA over the last couple of decades, the responses from Russian players have already produced a wave of criticism. Pavel Datsyuk (somewhat awkwardly) blazed the trail by pointing to his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs, while Ilya Kovalchuk didn’t mince the words and endorsed the measure wholeheartedly. So far Alex Ovechkin has largely avoided stepping into it, as he got an easy question: he was only asked to comment on boycott rumors, and nobody is seriously advocating that. And these were the questions they were getting while enjoying home-ice advantage! One can only expect the heat to rise when the Russians make their way across the Atlantic – surely they will not be allowed to get away with a no-comment then? And why should they be, right?

The law surely is a nasty piece of legislation. But it does not criminalize the homosexual relations, which used to be illegal and punishable by harsh sentences in Soviet Russia. Those are still very much illegal in a certain country in our own American neighborhood, where engaging in such activity, even between two consenting adults, could result in a lengthy jail term. That’s right, doing it on the beautiful island of Jamaica should land you for up to 10 years in an all-inclusive resort of government choosing, and it’s not going to be Sandals. So, have we heard from Usain Bolt on this subject? Surely he has given an interview – or a thousand – in his career… Still looking…

Why hasn't anyone asked Roger Federer about the

Should Roger Federer be accountable for the United Arab Emirates’s track record on gay rights?

Or even better yet – how about another country where they are clearly not concerned with such fine details as gay propaganda to minors? I am talking about United Arab Emirates – if men get caught in action there, the options for the government to “straighten” them out range from a prison term or chemical castration if they are lucky, to the death sentence if they are not. Yep, that’s what they do in Dubai, the adopted home of the great Roger Federer. Isn’t he in New York City playing tennis right now? I am sure he is going to be grilled by the media on why he chose to move to a country with such hideous human rights record, right? In fact, the annual Dubai Tennis Championship was held just a few short months ago, and FedEx was right there, along with a bunch of other ATP stars from all over the world. Did the issue ever come up? Somehow I doubt that.

If the players want to express their opinion on this or any other political issue – by all means, let them do that and live with the consequences. But if they choose not to – or respond with something along the lines of “Our job is to play hockey”, I hope they are not pressured or subjected to scorn and ridicule. Otherwise this wave of highly selective moral outrage will only detract from a legitimate and important issue.

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  • SM74

    I have no problem with the world’s calling out Russia on institutionalized hate. Even if the United Arab Emirates, what with their well-known Winter Games deficiency, get a free pass.

    I do, however, agree that the outrage is selective. For example, Russia has also passed a law which punishes anything that “offends the feelings of the devout”, effectively making public displays of atheism illegal.
    So far, I haven’t heard a peep in American media about this. Maybe it’s because atheists rank far below gays on America’s list of “okay minorities” worthy of protection. Maybe it’s because America doesn’t think much of atheists itself. Maybe it’s because there are far fewer atheists in the position of power in the US than even in Russia (like… none, come to think of it… not a single one at all… way to go, land of the free!).

    Whatever the case may be, the outrage is quite selective, indeed.

  • Jake Green-Go

    I personally think the Russian laws are disgusting, I have seen the videos on how they treat “Homosexuals” It makes me sick to my stomach because in the end we are all human’s and deserve to be treated equally regardless of sexual preference, sex, age skin color or whatever else generates so much hate. just my 2 cents.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Slava, I actually heard about that law the other day via a story about a crackdown on a pastafarian march. http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/24/20153441-humor-failure-in-russia-crackdown-on-pastafarians-shows-kremlin-church-ties?lite

    Ramen.

  • SM74

    But where is the comparable outrage?

    And, remember, only a little more than 20 years ago this country’s president said that atheists should not be considered American citizens…

    Clearly, some human rights will take a bit longer to stick even in my beloved West.

  • CapsFanSince94

    You’re ducking the issue. The fact of the matter is, Russia is hosting the largest international sporting competition in the world. Usain Bolt hasn’t been asked because he’s not competing in Sochi but I can assure you that at the very least, the LGBTQ community and straight allies are very aware of Jamaica. In fact, you can find news of protests raised against particularly hateful musicians like Beanie Man. As for the UAE, Federer should be asked but frankly, the tennis tournament pales in comparison to the Olympics. You would have been better off asking if people were concerned about gay rights in Qatar where the World Cup is being held.

    Also, you’re whitewashing the law and it’s impact. They may not have made homosexuality criminal but they are very close to doing so and are allowing gangs of neo-nazis to hunt down, assault and even murder LGBTQ youth.

    If I had my way, I would have had the Olympics games moved but since that is apparently logistically impossible and the IOC is a corrupt money drain, my hope is that the ugliness and brutality that the Russia’s LGTBQ and immigrant communities deal with are laid bare for the world to see and that we’ll see international competitions no longer held where gay people are subjected to unequal rights.

  • SM74

    Seven American states still prohibit atheists from holding public office… From now on, I shall make it my quest to ask every single US player about this crap.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    GHWB said atheists should not be considered patriots, not citizens.

    I don’t consider myself “outraged” over either issue (just ’cause that word connotes stuff about debilitating anger that doesn’t jive with me), but I certainly don’t like it. I’m a “let 100 flowers bloom” kind of guy, except without the Mao-ist purge side of that phrase.

  • CapsFanSince94

    Those laws are unenforceable. Supreme Court ruled that Maryland’s ban on atheists holding public office was unconstitutional in 1961. It’s mostly that a. states take a long time to remove antiquated laws from the record and b. the rest of the states are ones that an open atheist would have a hard time winning in.

  • GP1221

    I don’t recall the same level of fervor of outrage over human-rights abuses with the Olympics that were held in China in 2008 either.

  • Igor Kleyner

    It would have been very easy for me to “duck” the issue by simply not writing anything. Not sure I understand the logic behind the argument that Bolt’s opinion on Jamaica’s treatment of gays is less relevant than Datsyuk or Kovalchuk’s view of the corresponding issue in Russia.

  • Jowitt09

    And I guess this would be another example to further your point, where’s the media questioning towards Russian foreign policy, with regards to Syria? Might not engender too much of a response I guess…….

  • jeremiah

    i actually feel alright with ovi’s comment found it walked the fine line of not alienating fans here and not going against the government there. the thing about Bolt and the laws in Jamaica was a good one, but Jamaica isn’t or wasn’t hosting an Olympics which would put that country in the spotlight..

    I vaguely remember there being similar talk about human rights when China was hosting the last Olympics. then the games happened and itwent away wit hthe spectacle of the games and bright lights everyone kinda forgot. or maybe it wasn’t as loud as this time and you could propably say that is because of the atmosphere right now where gay rights is in courts more and in the news more.

  • jeremiah

    i thought Bernie Sander in the senate was an atheist but that could have been propaganda from Fox news or something.
    Atheist in this country have always been looked at in politics as weird going back to Jefferson; john adams used i guess what would be considered attacks against him saying he was an atheist and would turn our children into them. which led to the whole Hail to the Theif thing around Adams presidency.

    there was also the guy in Texas who won a case that allowed him to claim being a pastafarian and take his DMV photo with a strainer on his head

  • jeremiah

    it sholdn’t really matter what an athlete says the real story is that the IOC is skirting its own charter with the rule 2 saying no discrimination of athletes and spectators.

  • SM74

    You are wrong here. There was outrage as well, and calls for a boycott.

  • SM74

    No, the quote was about both patriots and citizens.

  • SM74

    Isn’t the “b” part of your answer just as outrageous?

  • Misha P.

    You people must understand that Russia is still very very VERY conservative country. And Russia is not only Moscow, where you can find people who can speak English and know about Lady Gaga. Your western-internet-warriors-for-human-right opinions will hardly be heard somewhere in Magnitogorsk, for example. Or in Omsk. Or in Murmansk. Or in Perm. Putin for most of people living there is like light version of Stalin (without repressions and mustache) for their grand parents. It will take next 10 or 20 years for them to understand that there is a human rights, real political opposition, fair votes, free television etc.

    And you WON’T explain these people all this stuff my making such statements or videos. You will only make the “Olympics” situation warmer. Normal people in Russia want to see Canada and US national teams in Sochi. Normal people in Canada and US want to see their teams in Russia. So please stop talking bullshit about freedom of speech and human rights in Russia, in 2013, 20 years after USSR.

    And if you can’t imagine your life in the world, where historical sports events go to such conservative countries like Russia, a repeat, you should start a new “human rights” campaign agains FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

    P.S. Qatar, like Saudi Arabia is world known for killing gays just for being gays.
    But still, US blame only russian laws. Why? There must me some reasons, but for me Cold War is over and I don’t want to participate in this ditry stuff for idiots and false patriots.

    P.S.S. Дорогой Слава Маламуд, мне кажется, тебе давно пора обратится в политику, ибо в последнее время в России тебя вспоминают исключительно как политического деятеля, а не спорт-обозревателя. Я понимаю, хоккея пока нет, писать не о чем, но уважай хотя бы себя ;)

  • Misha P.

    Why don’t you try to watch videos about arabian treatment of homosexuals, in America’s beloved Saudi Arabia, for example? Or your brain is too tiny to search information not only about Russia as your politicians are telling you on TV?

  • Misha P.

    Georgia asked the whole world society to exclude Russia (once again) from Olympics prior to South Osetia war.

    Iraq, Libya, now Syria, than may be Iran. Russia is such an agressor, if you know what I mean. And, of course, there was a nuclear weapon in Iraq. We all saw it. :)

  • Oblivion

    You are certainly don’t like it? Man, You got a buttheart about all this stuff. May be it means you are starting your career as a politician, or may be… may be our Peter Hassett is a proud gay?

  • CapsFanSince94

    Sorry, I’m a cocksucker.

  • CapsFanSince94

    Excuse me once again. I’m just an angry little gay and that’s all. Tired of being harassed by everybody.

  • jeremiah

    And I hope crosby will beat ovechkin’s ass in sochi. ovechkin said it all. he is a douche like kovy and datsyuk, and all the russians

  • CapsFanSince94

    You are wrong. And stupid. I would smack you with a great pleasure you nasty russian evil! I would do it with Peter. He is my boyfriend and we will be free. In EVERY country. Even in Russia.

  • CapsFanSince94

    Peter, you naughty little… Where are you? My penis is waiting!

  • ACN

    Go home, jeremiah, you are drunk.

  • jeremiah

    I may be gay, but I’m definitely not drunk!

  • Igor Kleyner

    I guess the main difference would be – just because a president, or anybody else for that matter, says something, it doesn’t make it so. Just another little fact that makes us actually love and appreciate our adopted homeland, right?

  • seandlax9

    I think if Crosby fought a clone of himself, they’d manage to both lose, and somehow Callahan would pick up a game misconduct.

  • SM74

    True, but the politicians’ words reflect the prevailing attitudes of the population. And this country’s attitudes towards atheists aren’t much different from Russia’s attitudes towards gays.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Agree to the extent of attitude defined narrowly in terms of like/dislike. It’s what the country does with/to the people that are disliked – that’s where the lines diverge

  • Jeremiah

    bolts opinion isn’t as relevant because his country isn’t getting a giant commercial called the olympics. the games are nothing more than a celebration or validation from the rest of the world so that country’s discriminatory laws and opinion of those would be relevant

  • Jeremiah

    before any politicians said anyting there was already people upset about this stupid law and other stupid laws there. To say it is just repeating what politicians are saying is ignorant of the people who have spoken loudest abotu this since this law came about earlier this summer. politicians have been pretty quiet about this for the most part until asked after the story got big enough to reach them

  • Igor Kleyner

    Valid point, but at the same time Jamaica doesn’t seem to need such giant commercial to draw many more American visitors every year than Russia. And I have a feeling a lot of those visitors consider themselves enlightened supporters of human rights in general and gay rights in particular. Ask a question – what is the percentage of US population that is actually aware of the Jamaican law vs the same for Russian law? And why? Russian law has been on the books for two months, Jamaican – I suspect always.

  • katzistan

    Misha,

    Attitudes change. In the 60s, Southern White Americans were pretty conservative too. That wasn’t an argument *not* to talk about civil rights, quite the opposite. There are already numerous human rights advocates in Russia itself, too. And they’re even in Magnitogorsk and Omsk. They’re brave people, who are doing the morally right thing in a difficult environment. And many are probably invigorated by a global voice against injustice in their country. You’re Russian, so you should know better than others not to paint your countrymen with such a broad stroke.

    And “US blame only Russian laws?” C’mon, why is Russians’ first defense to always to point elsewhere “но у нас не хуже!” That’s old. Pay attention – plenty of rights advocates complain about Saudi Arabia, and have for years. But the world’s spotlight is on Russia right now. Russia asked for and got the Olympics, this comes with the territory. You can’t ask for everyone’s attention and then complain about what goes along with it. Russia’s got the Olympics, and it’s got some pretty atrocious discriminatory laws. Both those things are getting attention now.

    And Slava, не слушайте его.

  • Jeremiah

    there is conservative ideas and then there is government sponsored hate this is the latter. it is simplistic and wrong to label something as a conservative reasoning. the prime minister of England another country who has denounced russia for this law recently said” i am a conservative and i support gay marriage and rights because I am a conservative.” enforce it .

  • Jeremiah

    i did not write this and i guess i will have to sign up in order to not have my name used by another guest . whatever probably won’t post anymore

  • katzistan

    You guys continue to be the best sports blog on the internet, exactly because you’re willing to post stuff like this. (And I read up to two sports blogs, so you should be proud!)

    Still, I dunno. I’m not sure it’s so easy or right to deflect with ‘it’s our job to play hockey’. You get into professional sports, you get fame. You get fame, you get a platform whether you want it or not. But you wanted the fame, so it goes with the territory. And you’re human, and those affected by laws like this are human. As a human, you kind of should care about those who are suffering injustice, and if you don’t, it kind of says something about you. And if you have a platform, and you don’t say anything in the face of injustice when you have the world’s eyes and ears and you could, that kind of says something about you too.

    Definitely, it would take some serious courage to get up and say, “This law is BS”, and that for Ovie to do that while at an Olympic promotion event in Russia might be too much to ask of even the most courageous person. But nevertheless, it’s not unrealistic to expect something out of people who have a platform. Ovie and Holtby and the rest of them aren’t defined solely by being pro hockey players. They are also humans. And as humans, they have a choice to have an opinion about and to speak about whatever they want.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Jeremiah,

    I hadn’t received an email notification for this comment yet, but it’s gone now. I see the IP is different from yours, so no worries.

  • SM74

    Well, America gives atheists little chance to influence the country’s policy, no chance at all to get elected to major public office, greatly reduced chance to win custody of their own children (judges have been known to take one parent’s lack of religious belief into consideration in custody cases) and assault by visuals like this one (a highway billboard in PA):

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/62/Why_Do_Atheists_Hate_America_billboard.jpg

    Is this Russia-level hatred of homosexuals? Not quite. But it’s plenty for “the land of the free.”

  • SM74

    Don’t worry, not about to.

  • Igor Kleyner

    If it somehow came across that “it’s our job to play hockey” is the *right* answer – I may need to take remedial ESL class :) I generally try to avoid asking questions for which I know what the *right* answer is.
    But if, as you say, with the fame comes the platform – then my questions regarding Bolt and Federer are not inappropriate at all, because those two have a platform bigger than 99.9(9)% of the reset of the world. And the fact that Dubai may not be getting winter Olympics any time soon is rather weak answer to that question

  • Igor Kleyner

    Yep, that comes with the territory – some propaganda is quite distasteful, but the cure (banning it) is much worse. And to be fair, there is much more accusations of hate flying around here than actual hate – just an opinion, of course.

  • SM74

    Nobody proposes banning expressions of speech. Even hateful one. But it’s undeniable the majority of the US population identifies with this hateful speech. Which is just as sad as 95% of Russia’s population thinking that gays can “convert” their children.

  • katzistan

    Would definitely agree with you on Bolt and Federer. I guess I think it’s totally justified for there to be pressure on people with a high profile to explain their decisions, and that there should be less cover for them to duck behind their profession.

    While I agree with that, I’m not sure I buy entirely the ‘selective moral outrage’ part though. We have to admit there’s limited public attention. People are focusing on Russia, because they’re putting on the world’s biggest sport event. The questions just go with the territory. It’s not some grand conspiracy against Russia – it’s that they have some pretty offensive laws and they’re hosting a gigantic world gathering that everyone’s preparing for.

  • SM74

    And to reiterate, propaganda (and hateful thought) is only one problem. Actual discrimination in America exists as well.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Most of the world cares very little about Winter Games, actually – except for Europe and North America. And Dubai is NOT some little backwater country nobody cares about. A couple of million of visitors just from Europe every year – and I guarantee you these are not some beet farmers from Slovakia!

  • katzistan

    It’s dependent on the timezone of course, but I think the Winter Olympics historically has higher viewership in the US than the Summer games. (I’ve seen it explained that it’s because the Winter ones have a single anchor event – figure skating – that’s a bigger draw than any summer one.) Anyway, beside the point – the journalists you’re referencing are nearly all from North America. It’s where their attention is now.

    And yeah, there are a lot Europeans that visit Dubai. Lots of people do lots of things. I work in a field that requires a lot of travel, and I have one colleague that refuses to fly through Dubai because of their human rights policies, and that’s despite the fact they have the nicest airline. I probably personally wouldn’t go that far, but I certainly respect the choice.

    Anyway, I think at the end of the day we agree – people in a position to publicly speak truth to power should do that. And those that do, should be applauded for it.

  • Fedor

    Radical gangs, not state, let’s make it clear here.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Totally in agreement with your last paragraph – but personally, I would add to it that some may chose not to. And I got a bit of a problem with the notion that those must be dragged into the arena of public discourse and pilloried until they produce mandatory denunciations.

  • Igor Kleyner

    I am not very proud at all to discover that Utah Code Section 76-5-403 (same sex sexual activity = misdemeanor regardless of consent) was the law of the land in both 1995 (winter Games awarded to Salt Lake City) and 2002… I can not recall any player from any country asked *the question*

    Am I whitewashing again?

  • Catherine__M

    Something tells me that if it was 2022 right now (especially given the progress that is likely to happen over the next 9 years), there would be an outright boycott by several countries on a World Cup in Qatar, not calls to speak out against a law. This is current events now.
    Also, this law was passed during the lead up to the Olympics, when the world spotlight was already on Russia for the Olympics. And then the sports minister specifically made a point to say that it would be enforced during the Olympics. It’s not as if gay rights activists went on a mission to find something to protest. As sick as they are, and as more extreme as they are, Qatar’s laws already exist so it’s just a different situation.

  • M

    Okay, once again, answer my question. Why don’t you people close your eyes while gays in Saudi Arabia are being killed?

  • M

    Про Маламуда зря написал, не прочитав всего, с ним я согласен. А по поводу вашего комментария – США 60-х и сегодняшнюю Россию сравнивать нельзя. Вообще ничего не нужно сравнивать – каждая страна – это отдельно взятая песня. Если вы говорите, что на Россию гонят из-за Игр, опять же, почему не было истерики, когда Катару дали ЧМ-2022? У нас запрещена пропаганда, а у них просто головы на улицах рубят – что за двойные стандарты?

    Наше общество не созрело для признания геев, это не политическое решение, это действительность и от нее не убежать. Да, Путин и РПЦ способствуют сохранению таких настроений, но тут пара выкриков с Запада ничего не решат, ситуацию только усугубляют. Хотя по факту это все полная ерунда и максимум, чего добьются крикуны с обеих сторон – разочаруются в своих же кумирах по ту сторону.

    И да, я не сторонник этого закона, я ненавижу Милонова, но никакой катастрофы я из этого не делаю. Всему свое время.

  • N

    Не хочется прослыть плебеем, но, есть ли какие-то научные опровержения гипотезы о том, что геи могут спровоцировать ребенка?

  • SM74

    Есть примеры?

  • M

    У меня нет, я просто хочу в проблеме разобраться, основываясь на фактах. Я думаю люди, которые заявляют о подобном имеют на это какие-то основания. Но по существу мало кто говорит.

  • M

    Хотя, я думаю примеры есть. И это дает государству, испытывающему демографические проблемы полное право вести себя таким образом.

  • SM74

    Ни один серьезный ученый так не считает. Гомосексуализм, согласно современной науке, не является ни заболеванием, ни сознательным выбором. Никаких оснований считать иначе нет. Да и не будучи ученым, довольно легко взглянуть на статистику. В странах, где гомосексуализм подвергается преследованию, геев в процентном отношении столько же, сколько в странах, где они пользуются всеми правами.

  • Carl

    So because we aren’t addressing every civil rights abuse in the entire world all at once, we should not address ANY of them? That’s stupid. Talk about a fluff piece.

  • RDC3PO

    This is just stupid logic. There’s a reason it’s selective, it’s because Russia is hosting the fucking Olympics and is therefore in the spotlight. This isn’t complicated. If Jamaica was hosting the Olympics they would be facing heat over whatever antiquated policies they hold, the same goes for any other country.

    You can’t protest every injustice, it’s simply not possible. That doesn’t make protesting a particular injustice selective.

  • RDC3PO

    Radical gangs to which the State turns a blind eye

  • RDC3PO

    Ah yes, the always intelligent ‘it happens somewhere else too’ defense. Try again.

  • Jake Green-Go

    Misha I was only expressing my opinion, no need for the hostile attitude, And for you to assume I get my information from politicians just shows how ignorant you are. You must think I sit in front of the TV watching the news like its my job, well sorry to tell you but I don’t. Anytime I watch the news is my local news and that it is so I know the weather for the day so i can dress accordingly.

  • WARRIOR

    there were nuclear weapons in Iraq, supplied by the French and the Russians in the 1960s and 1970s

  • Josh Lewis

    The difference between Russia and the other countries like Jamaica and the UAE is that Russia is hosting the Olympics.

  • WARRIOR

    this is why everyone hates Americans, we go to your country and we tell you how much your culture needs to change

  • Igor Kleyner

    You are right, protests can be as selective as protesters want them to be. But media coverage is supposed to at least strive for objectivity, is it not?

  • WARRIOR

    SM74 i am reading your comments and it seems like you really dont like America or what it stands for. So I must ask: why do you live here? why dont you move to Europe or a socialist utopia where everything is perfect?

  • SM74

    What does America stand for, which I don’t like?

  • RDC3PO

    Objective sure, but you’re not asking for objectivity. What you’re asking for is that any coverage of any issue be turned into a treatise on that issue globally. Covering the use of child labor? Can’t write about it’s existence in China without writing about it’s existence in Pakistan, otherwise you’re being selective. That’s absurd. Was coverage of China’s numerous abuses in 2008 selective because it didn’t also point out the existence of many of those abuses in Russia?

    What you’re doing is attempting to deflect the attention onto other nations by basically saying ‘look, they do bad things too’. If Jamaica was hosting an upcoming world event and no questions were asked then sure, maybe the coverage is selective (this discounts the fact that I have not heard of any instances of members of the gay community being brutally beaten in the streets of Kingston). However, the fact is that Russia is currently in the spotlight, and there’s nothing at all selective about covering a nation in the spotlight much more thoroughly than one far to the periphery.

  • Igor Kleyner

    I never said you can’t or shouldn’t write about it! Look, I am writing about it, calling it “hideous” in the very first paragraph! My beef with media coverage – two things: one – I think too much is concentrated on potential trouble for the participants or tourists – and in my opinion it will not happen. And then they will say see, the West was crying wolf again over nothing. The Russian gays are the targets for the law and should fear it, not the foreigners.
    The second problem, and that’s where I question selective nature of media inquest is putting athletes on the spot. Just today, I think 5 tennis players up in NYC were ambushed with this. Well I guess not ambushed, since by now they should expect it. You mentioned media coverage of China abuses in 2008 – do you recall any Chinese athletes interviewed about it?

  • eliza1600

    There was a great deal of outrage over human rights abuses (and evironmental issues) when the Olympics were in China in 2008.

  • RDC3PO

    Do you recall any Chinese athletes who had any sort of North American presence? Yao Ming and?

    You complained about Bolt and Federer not being asked questions, but there’s a very obvious and sensical reason that’s the case, their nations (or adopted nations) aren’t hosting an Olympics and therefore aren’t in the spotlight. This isn’t selective coverage, it’s covering what is relevant today.

    I honestly don’t know how the rest of your post is relevant to my comments.

  • Thursday

    NHL player – ones who live here (North America), train here, and work here, are being asked. Which Chinese athletes do you think were playing sports here, earning their living here, who weren’t asked about human rights abuses in China?

    Follow up: of those who weren’t, why not?

    Simplest answer is that we’ve grown up a little. Questions which were swept under the carpet five, ten, or twenty years ago aren’t being avoided any more. Compare gay rights five years ago to now: there has been a MASSIVE amount of communication about exactly this subject, so it is currently in the public eye. What is more shocking is to see Russia REGRESS in their freedoms: that they are limiting freedoms is a shocking thing, and demands attention.

    This is the biggest difference when you compare Russia to the UAE – the UAE hasn’t suddenly changed their laws to become more restrictive just before one of the largest sporting events in the world. Russia has.

  • eliza1600

    The NHL has explicitly taken up the cause of gay rights in the past year. So it makes sense to me that the hockey press would ask hockey players about it.
    Regarding China in 2008, there was a lot of outrage about China’s human rights (and environmental) abuses making it an innappropriate venue for the Olympics (which likes to surround itself with a lot of blather about Universal Brotherhood, etc.) I’ll admit I don’t recall Chinese athletes being questioned about it, but I do recall that film director Yimou Zhang, who directed the Opening Ceremonies, got a lot of political flack.
    And who’s questioning the Russian players? Aren’t they still in Russa? I’ve understood that these questions are coming to them from the Russian media. If so, is this a test to see if they’ll toe the party line? Or is it a sign Russia has a reasonably free press? Either way, it makes sense that the Russian media would focus on Russian topics.

  • Freedoooom

    Its truly funny.

    The whole basis of this law is to ban proselytizing homosexuality.

    The UAE bans proselytizing Christianity and has a long track record of enforcing it.

  • m

    IT HAPPENS SOMEWHERE ELSE TOO? Are you serious??? Gays are not being killed in Russia! It’s not the same level of treatment. I think you are just too dumb to understand that.

  • RDC3PO

    I’m so angry just because there was one case in my past. I’m gay since I was 14 and when I started to understand my homosexuality I faced many people who didn’t like me and didn’t trear me well. Since than I started my little war against this type of society.

  • m

    HAHAHAHAHAAHA official link please?

  • katzistan

    Totally different climate for gay rights back then. Was gay marriage even legal anywhere then? You could go back to the St. Louis Olympics in 1904 and ask why no one was complaining about Jim Crow laws, too.

  • katzistan

    Yeah, I guess that’s where we disagree. I wouldn’t frame it as “dragged” or “pilloried”. I just think that those who chose a life of fame should accept that certain things come with the territory, and people are going to look to them for their opinions. And I think it’s pretty cowardly of them to hide behind their profession, as if certain professions aren’t expected to care about their fellow humans.

  • RDC3PO

    Wow, I’m flattered. One day and I already have an imitator.

  • Igor Kleyner

    With all due respect, this is a decade ago, not a century. I can not ask the world of journalism of 1904 why they thought it was ok; they are kind of dead. I am asking largely the same group of people in the media – where were they 12 years ago? Again, we are not talking about gay marriage here, but criminal code!

  • breaklance

    most folks know nothing about Saudi Arabia other than they’re nice to us and give oil. And something about Operation Desert Storm from the 90s. The short version of what your trying to say is that despite being a major ally for America in the middle east, Sauri Arabia is one of the strictest practitioners of quran law which allows for a lot of things from sexist, racism, torture and death and the world generally looks the other way.

    The news flash is different parts of the world are different. Japanese wear white at funnerals. French generally start drinking alcohol at 12 or younger. Deal with it