U.S. Olympic Committee Passes On Russia Protest: "We're Not A Human Rights Organization"
A meeting of the U.S. Olympic Committee this week saw the body supporting a hypothetical amendment to the Olympic Charter that would specifically protect LGBT athletes (which is applause-worthy, sure) but quickly lead to the organization promising nothing in the way of protests or diplomacy when it comes to Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Winter Games, because it's "not a human rights organization."
"First and foremost we are a sport's organization, we're the only organization in the world whose job it is to make sure American athletes get a chance to compete in the Olympic Games," USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said. "We are not an advocacy organization or a human rights organization. We are a part of a worldwide Olympic movement and I think what we can do is advocate for change within our movement."
Blackmun then revealed that the USOC would not be entertaining protests or boycotts of Russia of any kind, and will instead reroute its frustration with the country's human rights violations into simply ensuring that the USOC itself doesn't discriminate against LGBT athletes.
"We want to lead by example and we also want to advocate internally, within the global Olympic movement, to make sure we as family are doing everything we can to send the message we do not tolerate discrimination," Blackmun continued.
Though the IOC may not boast the badge of an official human rights org, it has, in many times in the past, used its power and visibility to fight for human rights around the world. Most notably, in 1964, the IOC banned South Africa from competing in the Tokyo Summer Games over the country's discrimination against Africans. The IOC initially gave South Africa a deadline with which to stop apartheid if it wanted to continue participating in the Olympics, but the country failed to meet it and was prohibited from competing.
So saying that getting involved in human rights in an Olympic territory is totally not something the organization does is a blatant lie, it seems.