Robbie Rogers Speaks Out On Potential Olympic Boycott
In an op-ed piece for USA Today, Robbie Rogers, currently the only openly gay athlete playing in one of the USA's five major team sports, spoke out against calls for a boycott on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.
While his stance primarily rests on the argument that Olympic athletes should have the opportunity to compete against the best in the world and achieve the goals they've worked for years to accomplish, he also provides his own suggestions for what actions the International Olympic Committee should take.
"And here's what I hope the International Olympic Committee will do: Relax the rules forbidding Olympic athletes from wearing a symbol that represents a political statement. On the contrary, encourage athletes attending the Sochi Olympics to wear the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, as a symbol of their support for LGBT athletes everywhere and to show solidarity for gay Russians who are now living under the threat of arrest by a repressive regime.
There's historical precedent here. In 1936, when Berlin hosted the Summer Olympics, Hitler saw it as a chance to promote his views of racial purity to the world, and the official Nazi paper argued that Jews and Blacks should not be allowed to compete. This sparked a heated international debate involving many countries—including the United States--about whether or not to boycott the Olympics. And perhaps the most enduring image of those Olympics was the triumph of African-American sprinter Jesse Owens. Had the U.S. boycotted and Jesse Owens missed the event, an important historical teaching moment would have been lost."
The IOC has already stated that symbols of pro-LGBT equality will not be allowed.
Do you think they may consider changing their stance and relaxing those rules?
What do you think of Robbie's opposition to a potential boycott and his suggestions for how to take action?