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U.S. Figure Skater Jeremy Abbott: 'It's A Little Rude' To Speak Out Against Russia's Anti-Gay Policies

U.S. figure skater Jeremy Abbott is heading to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and he's making it clear he has no intention of speaking out against Russia's anti-gay laws, but his reason why may make you go, "Hmm...".

Abbott tells The Denver Post:

"Russia is hosting us," Abbott said. "I'm not going to go into somebody's house and be like, 'Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I'm never coming back.' It's a little rude, so I don't want to say bad things about a country that's hosting the world, essentially.

"Maybe I don't agree with their policies, and maybe I don't agree with some things, but that's for them to sort out. My speaking out just makes me look like an ass."

Abbott goes on to explain why he's glad that their won't be an Olympic boycott, saying:  "Thank God, being an athlete and having trained so long for this, I would just be crushed if that was taken away. 

"Pulling athletes out of a competitive event isn't going to solve some country's political disputes. It's only going to affect the athletes, and it's not going to do anything to change their policies or change the country or change the world."


We actually totally get why athletes wouldn't advocate boycotting the Olympics. They've worked their entire lives to get there and there are no guarantees that they'll be able to return in four years and compete. 

However, Russia's anti-gay laws and the disturbing, violent anti-gay sentiment in that country isn't equivalent to bad interior decorating. A better analogy would be walking into someone's home and watching them physically abuse their child or spouse--and deciding to do nothing. 

Abbott and other athletes are certainly under no obligation to speak out; we get them not wanting to risk their shot at gold. But let's not treat what's happening in Russia as if it's just some minor inconvenience or a simple difference of opinion between neighbors. It's far from it. 

What do you think, Instincters?


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Though months have passed since Jeremy Abbotts comments, I find that those who responded had but one thing in common - their pridefully love of shallow insecurities. This is seen in the fact that they are concerned more with the context of his analogy rather than the subtext. If you people were truly the great humanitarians that you claim to be, first step out of character by setting an example of a true humanitarian within your own lives and second, since you are equally shallow in making a political statement - I challenge you to discard each and every item you own made in China and other countries where they make it a point to be inhumane when it comes to child labor and human rights. Or, do those issues not matter because it isn't sexually relevant to your selfish, twisted cause?

Russia is not a "host" and we the "guests." Russia actively bid for the games, and they signed the protocols, including the one that says all athletes deserve sport, regardless of who they are. If we were a guest in a home where a man was beating his wife of the children were kept in cages, would we simply put up with it because we were "guests?" No, the "guests in their house" claim is nonsense. Either Russia keeps its part of the bargain, or it loses the games. It's that simple.

please help us find a russian boy. he was getting bullied with a internet video. visit our facebookpage to help. thanks a lot.

I hope this selfish Abbott brat never wins anything for the remainder of his life.  Being an Olympian is not just about being the top of your sport, it should be also about being the ambassador of that sport who could reach out to the communities in a humanitarian way and show others what hardwork and dedication can achieve.   Hopefully when his Olympic dreams die, he will finally learn to empathise with people whom have had their dreams and rights ripped away for the way they choose to live their lives.  It is more than just a matter of changing your goddam drapes and curtains.

Wow. What an ass and way to think only about yourself.  Also? If you don't like someone else's oppressive beliefs, it has nothing to do with the color of their curtains, you tool.  It means you don't step foot in their house because it conflicts with the freedom of another human being to be who they are.  Going there under those conditions is like condoning such actions against a segment of society that their government are subjecting to prison and beatings.  There needs to be a stand and international pressure to move the Olympics or NOT participate, so that IOC takes a hard look at the future locations it picks for hosting the games, to make sure they aren't human rights violators or suppressing someone based on color, race, sexual orientation, or gender.

Boycot 'em all, including this ice skating ignoramus.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if he came out as gay after he wins a gold medal? What a way to protest against Russia's anti-gay laws. That would be awesome. 

self centered asshole in my opinion. look the other way..and u won't see it. 

Well, apparently winning a medal is more important than the lives of people.
Sorry, Jeremy Abbott, but you sound like a complete ass!
I wish they had crushed your selfish little dream!

Who defines what's right and wrong? Public opinion is just a lie that everyone agrees on. You honestly think that by insulting this man's opinion its going to help but really all it shows is that even gay people are intolerant of differences between people. How can we as a community expect equality, be accepted for our differences, and respect for our choices and opinions when we can't do the same. Stop and think about how YOUR opinion on this man's opinion stands. Is it intolerant? Remove the thorn in your eye before you remove the twig from your neighbor's.

Jordan, responding to your first question: Those with a discerning moral conscience have a strong say in identifying - distinguishing between - right and wrong behaviors: those, more often than not, that involve the violation of ones human rights are - by those with discerning moral consciences - considered wrong.  More often than not, such wrongs are not matters of mere opinion differences.  Take time to read The Declaration of Universal Human Rights to get an idea about the scope of what the world community considers are human rights.  Yes, everyone has an opinion.  However, some opinions are "better" than others because they are more solidly grounded in verifiable facts.  The young figure skaters poor analogy may indicate the sloppiness in his reasoning.  Good luck in deciding what is right and what is wrong!

I think when gay teenagers are being assaulted, their assailants take video and pictures and are proud of themselves, and the country does nothing about it, I'm pretty confident in saying that's "wrong."

Maybe you're ok with tolerating torturing people, including children. Call me intolerant, then.

"'Um, the way you decorate is hideous," said like a true Queen!  I bet when he is arrested he will sing a different song! Bet he never sets foot on Russian soil.  Now that Russia has added gaoline to the fire with their position on Syria, things will change!   Some people say athletes give up their whole lives for a sport, that is their choice.  This would NOT be the first time an Olympics has been protested over civil rights issues.

What a self absorbed idiot. Forget the greater good, as long as he gets his moment in the spotlight. Won't ever pull for him. 

He's totally wrong here. What a juvenile reply....and a really bad career move for a U.S. male figure skater.  


By speaking out you may not win a medal but you will win the hearts and minds of the millions that can't speak out because they live in fear for their lives.

Hope he breaks his leg. That's what I say. (Well, you asked. . .)

Clearly, we have someone here who follows, doesn't lead and doesn't know how to stand up for what's right. It doesn't matter that they're the host country - the Olympics, above even sport, are about diversity and unity and the strong, universal respect for that unity. It is not only offensive to GLBT's but also our straight friends and family members who speak with and stand by us. I wouldn't be surprised of fate dealt this figure skater a bit of karma - like coming home without a medal.

Wonder how that will play out if he is going for a night on the town and gets his ass beat by those not so hospitable local thugs that roam there looking for foreigners and people who seem "non-traditional' ..lets face it, he couldn't pass convincingly off as especially butch looking...

"My speaking out just makes me look like an ass."  Yes, Jeremy, it did.  Maybe you're not so stupid and shallow after all.  You managed to categorize yourself perfectly.

Jeremy, Russia ISN'T hosting you for free.  Russia will make big bucks from the Olympics.  You're actually WORKING for them and not being paid for it, unless you're one of the medalists.   Russia isn't doing you a favor.  The USOC is ponying up bucks to send you and the other US team there.  We're paying them and you're working for free and you don't want to be rude because they're hosting?  You've spent too much time exercising your body and not enough time exercising your brain.

I have loved Jeremy since I first saw him compete. He is great and talented. I understand his points. A boycott would definitely hurt the athletes.  That's why I've been against that option.  It didn't do anything in 1980 when the US boycotted the games in Moscow.  He needs to go, compete, and win (especially beating the Russians). It would be like Jesse Owens winning in the Berlin games.

As for the analogy of walking into someone's home and seeing them beating their children and not reporting it... I don't really see the analogy here.  It's apples and oranges.  Yes, in this country you would report that.  But if you are an guest in someone's home in another country, you probably wouldn't.  Why?  You don't know their laws or customs.  Yes, you object to it, but that doesn't mean they do.  I don't remember the community speaking out this much over the Beijing games despite China's horrible human rights record.  As for moving the Olympics, that is quite an undertaking and quite a bit of money.  Housing, security, not to mention the venues for the athletes and the tourists all have to be in place.  That's usually why Olympic cities are selected so far in advance.

seriously ? your as dumb as he is! Screw the money and time move the Olympics

seriously ? your as dumb as he is! Screw the money and time move the Olympics

Seriously? Violence isn't an OK value in any culture.

No matter where in the world you see someone getting abused you should try to stop it.  Saying its OK to abuse a child or spouse in another country just because it isn't illegal is sad.  Stopping abuse and mistreatment isnt about "legal" it is about protecting those that can't protect themselves because it is morally wrong.  You just said you would allow harm to come to innocent people if it wasn't illegal to inflict that harm.  Shame on you.

Perhaps your love for him is clouding your judgment. 

Get some balls Jeremy...

By boycotting the Olympics in Russia doesn't mean that the athletes won't compete, they just won't compete in Russia! Move the games to a country where it's safe for ALL athletes to compete!

I am really disappointed in this person. His views are childish. Well maybe if he was beaten up in his living room for having bad taste he change his views. This person is a disappointment and I will fix a sandwich when he performs.

Wrong kid. U need to make a stand. Don't let Russia win. They are wrong!

So let's see... What if you "go over to somebody's house" for a dinner they are "hosting", as he says, and they are beating their children, would you turn the other cheek? This isn't about petty "decorations", "interior design", or Russian's choice on how they want to live as a people - this is about human rights. I'm sorry that common decency and standing up for the freedom of other people is getting in the way of your own dreams and your athletic competition.

I agree with you! Well said!

Athletes give up their whole lives for their sport.  Their families sacrifice so much to put them in the limelight for a few moments.  I can imagine that something like a disagreement about civil rights and the potential impact a boycott would have on their limited time to shine would make them nervous.  Basically Russia could be burying puppies in the sand up to their necks and running over them with a lawnmower right outside the Olympic Village and many (but not all) of the athletes wouldn't want to "rock the boat".  They want their time to shine, no matter what.

Then he should just admit he doesn't care about anything but getting a medal. Not hide behide some bullshit, "I'm too darn polite to say anything rude!" Barf.

Abbott truly sounds American: he has the NIMBY philosophy ingrained; he is all about crash commercialism; he is more interested in self than others; and, his English skills are weak (check out that analogy).  But, by God, if he needs to step over dead people as he walks the podium to get that gold, so be it.

He can get a head start practicing his silent act here in the US; STFU!

Whatever, Mary.  It's a human rights issue, not an interior decorator issue.

Dickhead. Sometimes things in life aren't always about 'you', sometimes selfishness needs to take a back seat in the wake of what is right and what is wrong and being seen to endorse it. Period. Hitler all over warned.

I agree with you completely.  To use such a weak analogy to explain what Russia is doing to its own LGBT citizens and what it might to to the athletes and visitors in Sochi (it has already taken action against LGBT travelers) is ludicrous.  There have already been consequences to Russia's new policies and if it wants to remain part of the world community it may want to change what it is doing.  Pressure from both inside the country and without is the only way it might change.

By the way, why did Jeremy Abbott use an interior decorating analogy anyway?  Hmmm?  Just saying.  Just kidding..

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it."   The analogy with abuse is spot on!

American people don't sit by while our neighbors have someone in shekels in the basement. That is essential what is happening within your host metaphor. Wake up. People are being killed and brutalized.

i understand not wanting to boycott but i dont get his reasoning for not speaking out


His argument is total crap and makes no sense, except to a competitive person who has worked hard over many years for this moment to shine at the Olympics. We all are interested in self at many points in our life so we cannot condemn him. This is why we should move the games to Canada so the competitors don't lose but the message is sent loud and clear to Russia that their discrimination and persecution of LGBTI people will not be rewarded with a public forum of consent such as the Olympic Games will bring.

The athletes may not be boycotting the Olympics.

That doesn't mean I have to give a d*** and watch them.

Pity this chap feels the way he does.  At least they won't be arresting him for giving his partner a hug and a kiss for a performance well given.

If his partner happened to be a gay man, that is.

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