Tuesday, December 17, 2013


("Discrimination in Sochi")

There are echoes of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Rule 50 of the Olympic charter. In 1968, standing on the podium with upraised black gloves, black socks and no sneakers, these men were making a statement of their deep concern for the poor and downtrodden black both in the United States and in other parts of the world, including an apartheid South Africa.

The reaction from Avery Brundage, then President of the International Olympic Committee was to suspend Smith and Carlos from the team and ban them from the Olympic Village.

One hopes that even as Russia continues its abhorrent treatment of the gay community, concern for offending the host nation will not lead to a repeat of the mistakes of the Olympic Committee almost a half century before.

The athletes from around the globe are members of a community of nations. They should be free from threat of  retaliatory action by the ruling body should they express, in words or deeds, compassion for those who are suffering unjustly in and around Sochi. The Olympic charter and human decency demand at least that much.


Bruce said...

We all know that Avery Brundidge was a virulent anti-Semite. And if he hated Jews, he hated blacks as well. In 1972 when the Palestinian terrorists murdered the Israeli wrestling team, Brundidge insisted that the games go on.

Robert said...

Brundage was also President of the USOC in 1936 when the games were held in Germany and the world closed its eyes to the atrocities being perpetrated.