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WATCH: Obama Says ‘I Do Not Think It’s Appropriate To Boycott The Olympics’

by David Badash on August 9, 2013

in 2014 Winter Olympics,News,Politics

Post image for WATCH: Obama Says ‘I Do Not Think It’s Appropriate To Boycott The Olympics’

President Barack Obama today said, “I do not think it’s appropriate to boycott the Olympics,” and added, “If Russia doesn’t have gay or lesbian athletes, it will probably make their team weaker.” The President noted that he personally is looking forward to “some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze.”

“Nobody’s more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation than you’ve been seeing in Russia,” he added.

The President, who is speaking right now at a scheduled press conference, also suggested that a good way to counter Putin’s anti-gay laws is for American athletes to be successful in the 2014 Winter Olympics.


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MTinSJ August 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Well, a nice sound bite, but I'm sure there are plenty people who are "more offended" than the President, especially our GLBT brothers and sisters in Russia. Regardless, I do think he is correct that non-participation in the Olympics is misguided for several reasons. Putin couldn't care less, and it would do nothing to affect any change in their laws. Further, it would amount to asking our athletes to say goodbye to their personal lifelong goals so a short term statement could be made: we carry on with our lives… The athletes get theirs trashed. The best to hope for: our team, gay and straight, whoops their bigoted Rusky asses, and rainbow flags fly at the winner's podium to Sister Sledge…

RRuinsky August 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

The IOC has issued a statement that any display of support for gay Russians, such as the Rainbow flag will result in the disqualification of the athlete.
If the President worked with other countries to boycott, Putin at least would watch Russian money go down the drain when the games failed. I believe the personal goals of athletes come a very distant second to human rights. The US should be ashamed to participate.

MTinSJ August 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm

The US should be ashamed of nothing. It is the Russians who bring shame upon themselves with their barbarian behavior. Why not leave it up to the individual athlete to determine what type of "statement" they may choose to make… perhaps even to the point of a very public disqualification. But to demand that all athletes comply with a boycott would be inappropriate, selfish, and ultimately ineffective. And give some thought, too, as to how that would be turned against us by our own bigoted – and still powerful – conservative right here in our own country…

BearFlagCitizen August 9, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Right up until the athlete (or a spectator) in question announces, "Even out and proud gay athletes, can make valuable contributions to our country," and the local law enforcement arrests said person throws them into jail for a few weeks, charges them, fines them, then deports them. It is admirable that athletes and Obama want to stand firm in participation and not boycott, however it does not need to be an either/or solution.

The Olympic Charter is fairly clear, that the practice and celebration of sport should be free from discrimination. The IOC is failing in upholding this ideal, and it puts the safety of both participants AND spectators at risk. The right thing to do, would be to move the games. Yes, it *could* be a logistical nightmare, but would not be the first time the Olympics had faced adversity in accommodations. The athletes could still compete, and all attendees could be safe in the knowledge that they would not be arrested (or worse.)

MTinSJ August 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Perhaps it would also be appropriate to consider what the Russian LGBT community would want themselves. Communication coming out of Russia is pretty clear that our brothers and sisters there do NOT support the idea of a boycott which, in their country, would be viewed as a "retreat" from the opposition. Rather, they voice strong feelings that partication is mandatory in the face of this oppression… I suggest you connect with for a firsthand account…

RRuinsky August 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

I thought the "no one is more offended than me" line was truly tone deaf. I would suggest the gay Russians being beaten, raped, brutalized, oppressed are a lot more offended at having to live under Putin and Co. vile rule. So, does the President think if a gay athlete brings home the gold that will stop the bands of creeps who are murdering gay people in Russia? His stance is not merely disappointing it is clueless. Congratulations Mr. President for allowing the US to repeat our mistakes of the past. Welcome to Sochi, the rerun of Berlin 1936.

barbonine August 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I guess Obama wasn't listening when the Russian official stated that gays WILL BE ARRESTED. Detained. Expelled. Along with every gay tourist who shows up.

And you know what? I think that's fair. I hate that the EOC were claiming that no Olympics related visitors would be detained. So Russian gays would be subjected to this unacceptable abuse, while everyone who came to spend their money in Russia would not. That isn't fair or equable treatment and I find it offensive.

I am really starting to dislike this President, starting with his mindless repetition of the DEA's flawed and inaccurate assessment off medical marijuana, continuing with his appointments of Monsanto chimps to head vital agencies, and now this.

I AM BOYCOTTING THE OLYMPICS AND YOU SHOULD TOO! Pay no attention to the man inside the White House. He's a tool.

bandanajack August 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

the same speech might have been made in 1935…

and the results of that are a matter of historical horror.

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