BREAKING: US Olympic Committee says Russia anti-gay law “inconsistent with fundamental Olympic principles”

Sochi, we have a problem.  The United States Olympic Committee, seemingly backtracking on an earlier statement – and now outright contradicting the International Olympic Committee – says Russia’s draconian new anti-gay law is “inconsistent w[ith] fundamental Olympic principles.”

The new statement from the USOC was first reported by Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed.

The USOC’s new statement would seem to contradict an earlier statement from USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, who this week told US athletes to obey Russia’s anti-gay law, or else.

It also raises the question as to why Russia is not now being kicked out of the Olympics for violating the Olympic principles.

The IOC said something similar this week, but went a step further, saying that the spreading of gay “propaganda” at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia would be reason to ban an athlete from the games, as such gay “propaganda” would violate the Olympic charter.

But here’s the problem…

1. The USOC head says Russia’s anti-gay is clearly “inconsistent with fundamental Olympic principles,” but they want US athletes to obey it anyway.  Or maybe not…

2. At the same time, the USOC head also said this week that: “[R]estricting the right to act and speak in support of the LGBT community are inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”  But that’s exactly what the USOC is doing by telling athletes to obey Russia’s anti-gay law, not to act or speak in support of the LGBT community…

3. And according to the IOC, if gay or pro-gay athletes do speak in support of the LGBT community while at Sochi, they’ll be kicked out of the Olympics all together, since the athletes’ actions will be deemed inconsistent with Olympic principles.

4. So why isn’t the IOC now throwing Russia out of the Olympic games all together, since the USOC has confirmed that Russia’s law – which the Russian Interior Ministry said this week will apply to Olympic athletes, visitors and media during the Sochi games – is inconsistent with Olympic principles?

Or is it only okay to violate Olympic principles if you’re anti-gay?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Mist Gibbs

    It bans being gay but it tolerates violence.
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  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Love it!

  • http://dreadpiraterobert.blogspot.com dreadpiraterobert

    The IOC is made up of entirely the 0.1% of wealthiest people in the world and are fully in favour of all the money Putin is throwing at them. There’s no way they’re going to move the Olympics (which they should… to Vancouver or Salt Lake?) or, better yet, just ban Russian athletes from participating at their own games.

  • Palto

    Can you imagine any other group tolerating this? Telling Catholics not to wear crosses or Jews not to wear yarmulkes? But gay people are expected to adhere to this blatant bigotry. Completely unbelievable. We still have such a long way to go.

  • jytaqetizah

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    NBC is crapping in their Depends
    right now because their $4 BILLION investment is about to blow up in
    their face! Advertisers are RUNNING away from the NBC & the
    Olympics and its toxic connection to anti-gay bigotry and Russian
    draconian intolerance.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The IOC has always been ‘neutral’ about reactionary host nations. ies. That is to say, they have always been a reactionary money making machine. Technically, the International Olympic Committee is an organization that “promotes Olympism. It makes more than $1 billion a year doing it. (1)

    The same is true of their sponsors. They’re in it for the money.

    Boycott NBC/Comcast/MSNBC, Coke, MNcDonalds, etc.

    (1)http://www.businessinsider.com/olympics-inc-inside-the-business-of-the-ioc?op=1

  • FLL

    OK, let’s face it. Yelena Isinbayeva bears an uncanny resemblance to Natasha Fatale. Yelena has not yet told us whether she thinks Moose and Squirrel are part of the gay plot to destroy Russia.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I agree fully that we should boycott the sponsors of the Sochi events, beginning with NBC/Comcast/MSNBC.

    In terms of the events themselves Russian GLBT organizations aren’t planning on a boycott of the Sochi games. With great heroism and understanding of the risks involved, they’re planning a demonstration at Sochi.http://www.gayrussia.eu/

    Doubtlessly lots of activists from North America, Europe and elsewhere will travel to Sochi and support them but for most of us the best way we can support them is by boycotting and promoting divestment campaigns against their American corporate sponsors, especially NBC, whose homophobia was recently revealed. They watched the progress of the Putinista bigot law since 2006 and did nothing to change their plans. “Human Rights Watch (HRW) notes that before Sochi was chosen for the 2014 games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other stakeholders, including American multinational sponsors of the Winter Olympics, as well as NBC Universal, which has the broadcast contract, carefully tracked the path of the legislation… .” 08 09 2013

  • Thom Allen

    A Truly Fractured Fairy Tale: Moose and Squirrel leaving for Russia to keep up pressure. In Moscow, Moose and Squirrel may be arrested for holding hands, being more than just friends, appearing gay. Then off to the gulag.

  • Tom Chicago

    Their heads are swimming in the Olympics Committees. They are in contention for a gold in the Talking Out of Both Sides of the Mouth event.

  • Clevelandchick

    The IOC and USOC have both pretty much told athletes to “not act gay” or we can’t help you….what bullshit! Telling gay athletes they can’t show their pride because it’s against Olympic values. Every western country who values equality should back the fuck out of the games and show Russia they don’t get to be fascist assholes without consequence. This is NOT 1930…this is 2013.

  • kurtsteinbach

    NBC should be leading the charge to move the Olympics somewhere else! It would save their investment.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Ve neva had deez problems in Russia until Moose and Squirrel. Dey must be teh gay.

  • kurtsteinbach

    Gold Medal in flexibility….

  • kurtsteinbach

    I think you mean those pesky Jews, if they would just walk into the gas chambers or commit mass suicide, we could avoid this unnecessary war. The same went for gays. If I were gay, I wouldn’t want to live in Russia.

  • kurtsteinbach

    China should not have been allowed to host the Olympics either in 2008. The IOC is a joke when it comes to human rights, so is the UN, which has been taken over by the Arab League nations that condemn democracies for their problems while the 95%+ of the Arab League nations are dictatorships….

  • kurtsteinbach

    No! I don’t want Rachel getting arrested either, and she will. I wanted to teach English (EFL) in Russia, but now I cannot. I too would be arrested because I could not help but speak out if I were there. I cannot do otherwise. I am incapable of staying silent. It is an offense against nature, the universe, and humanity to not speak out when you see a wrong being done. Those who have the power to take action, have the responsibility to take action. Just as at Nuremberg, humanity is once again the complainant at the bar. Gays were among the complainants at Nuremberg, and they are today.

  • kurtsteinbach

    If you walk down the street in Russia and see someone being beaten up and having the sh*t kicked out of them, that’s how you know a person in Russia is gay. It’s about time the USOC got on board. Now they need to push the IOC to move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia unless they repeal these ant–LGBT laws. The genocide against LGBT people in Russia has begun. Fascism is alive and well in Russia just as it was in the Soviet Union. The Nazis were National Socialists, socialism under one nation, and so are the new Stalinists, the Putinists….

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah I read that too. “Those pesky Jews, if they would just leave those poor Nazis alone, we could avoid this unnecessary war.”

  • Indigo

    That’s the only thing we can put on the board at this point. And that includes Coca-Cola!

  • Indigo

    I should have known.

  • Indigo

    I noticed that too.

  • Mau

    If you are not happy with the auto response from Coke, you can e-mail them at the following address and let them know that their pride in sponsoring the 1936 German Olympics, where Hitler ordered that anti Jewish signs be taken down for two weeks does not exactly impress you. Tell them what you really think and how often you will buy their products in the future. This cannot stand:

    https://secure.thecoca-colacompany.com/ssldocs/mail/eQuery_product.shtml

  • FLL

    “Rule 50″ of the IOC charter should apply to Isinbayeva in this case. At the very least, it should result in the IOC taking away Isinbayeva’s status as “mayor” of the Olympic villages, which is currently under discussion. As might be expected, Isinbayeva is claiming that she was misunderstood because of her poor English:

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/aug/16/yelena-isinbayeva-clarifies-anti-gay-law?CMP=twt_gu

  • caphillprof

    We need to get them into a court, somewhere, with a claim against their money. Spain, perhaps.

  • caphillprof

    The problem with the Russian law is that it bans being gay. You don’t have to speak out, you merely need to be gay to risk arrest, etc.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Remember, Salt Lake City bribed the IOC to host the Games, to the tune of over a million dollars and resulting in the resignation of, I think it was nine IOC members. That whole Olympics was wrapped in scandal and cronyism.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Rogge has gone on the record several times about protests and boycotts against the Olympics, and he has said that the boycotter is always the loser, because the Games are going to go on with or without them.

  • Jim Olson

    Last sentence? Bingo. It’s still ok to discriminate against teh gay.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    “Shut up anyway and pretend not to be gay or supportive of LGBTs at all. There’s money on the line here.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    By the way, I should add that by 1934, German had banned Jewish citizens from participating in most ‘official’ German sporting associations or training in gyms alongside non-Jewish Germans.

    While here in America, people would see “No Colored” signs in the windows of stores and business establishments, in Germany it was “Keine Juden” signs.

    That was Brundage’s definition of the ‘fair treatment’ of Jewish athletes: Segregation and bans.

  • FLL

    If ant-gay athletes spoke against gay rights or LGBT people, it certainly wouldn’t break any Russian law. However, it would be breaking “rule 50″ of the IOC charter:

    “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You mean like this gal here, Yelena Isinbayeva?

    “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people… We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys…. Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”

  • jomicur

    They are doing what they’ve been paid (and paid very well) to do–giving Russia cover. If they send gay or pro-gay athletes home, everyone in the mainstream will blame them, not Russia. We need to keep up pressure in the media, driving the message home that bigoted organizations are no better than the bigoted governments they get into bed with.

  • jomicur

    And I can’t help noting that all our wonderful success on this, in such a very short time, contrasts marvelously with all the embarrassing failures of the anti-gay right with their attempts to boycott J.C. Penney for using Ellen, to stop marriage in CA, etc. We are gaining strength and influence all the time, and our opponents look more and more feeble. We are winning and we are going to win. I am so proud of my community this summer–more than ever.

  • paaat

    I have a question: will the IOC kick out anti-gay athletes if they speak against the LGBT community while at Sochi? It is the other side of the same IOC coin.

  • FLL

    I forgot about that. And since Mr. Rogge assumed office in 2001, that would mean that Mr. Rogge and Mr. Romney shared many interests during their professional association with each other… perhaps too many.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Let’s not forget the guy put in charge of the 2004 winter games here in the U.S. was Mr. 47% himself, Willard Mittington Rmoney.

    The same guy who then directed tons of official Olympics business to companies in which he had financial interests.

  • chris10858

    Regardless of what happens, I think I will just spend my time watching other things besides the Olympics and self-haters like Johnny Weir on TV.

    If NBC were smart, they’d send someone like Rachel Maddow over to cover the events and tell her she is free to do what she does best.

    As a side note: Im not a boxing fan but did everyone hear about openly gay Orlando Cruz getting engaged to his boyfriend? He ranks something like 3rd in the world for his weight class in boxing. Hes a huge sports figure internationally to have came out. Good for him! http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/08/orlando-cruz-first-openly-gay-pro-boxer-announces-engagement/

  • FLL

    Not entirely off-topic is a New York Times editorial exploring the deficit in leadership that plagues the IOC. The NYT editorial is especially timely because the elections to choose a new IOC president are next month. As the NYT op-ed contributor notes, “This may be the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the games.” The current president, Jacques Rogge, is associated with the human rights abuses that occurred in China during the 2008 summer games in Beijing and, of course, the choice of Sochi for the 2014 winter games. Here is the link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/opinion/the-olympics-leadership-mess.html?_r=0

  • AnitaMann

    Huh? Getting whiplash from the competing messages. They must be getting worried. I hope so. Pressure must not let up.

  • clarknt67

    I read an article that ads weren’t down, but maybe it was spin?

  • clarknt67

    Gold medal in rhetorical gymnastics.

  • clarknt67

    They all seem to be taken entirely off-guard by this, it’s kind of weird they don’t have better spin. But maybe not. Maybe there’s no good way to spin:
    “Sure, it offends all our deeply held principles and platitudes, but…. MONEY!!!!!!!!”

  • clarknt67

    We dislike it so much we “strongly desire” you follow it.

  • Thom Allen

    Turn up the heat! e-mail, call, write, fax, post. Contact info for USOC, IOC, Olympic sponsors, US and Russian governments, etc. http://thevarnishedtruth.ning.com/profiles/blogs/olympic-boycott-and-relocation

  • Gindy51

    I don’t know about that, most of the stupid coverage is personal interest bull shit as opposed to real athletic events. Just run a bunch of moronic interviews with the “athletes” parents or pals and then preempt the “actual event” with commercials. Run some other competition as what happened and bingo, Sochi Olympics. Smoke and mirrors.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Avery Brundage, in 1933 as president of the American Olympic Committee, speaking out about the planned 1936 Berlin games, “The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race.”

    In 1934, he was treated to a VIP trip to Germany, where they treated him lavishly. Upon returning home, he said Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and the games should go on as planned anyway.

    Brundage opposed a boycott, arguing that politics had no place in sport. “The Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians.” He wrote in the AOC’s pamphlet Fair Play for American Athletes that American athletes should not become involved in “the present Jew-Nazi altercation.” As the Olympics controversy heated up in 1935, Brundage alleged the existence of a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy” to keep the United States out of the Games.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/olympics.html

    I’m fully expecting the USOC to fall in line and begin excusing Russia’s anti-gay pogrom within months, certainly by next year.

  • Hue-Man

    It’s quite surprising that the broadcasters and sponsors hadn’t developed a game plan for dealing with the gay-hating Russian laws – the IOC and national Olympic Committees couldn’t qualify to participate in the Upper Class Twit of the Year competition. They have billions on the line that they’ve now put at greater risk through their collective incompetence.

  • iamlegion

    I think the IOC is running into a basic problem of its own corruption. Everyone knows that the Olympics runs & is sited based on payoffs, but the athletes are all “amateurs” – they officially can’t be paid off! And guess what – no matter how much money the Russian gov’t and mafiya pay off to the IOC and the sports coverage companies, it turns out you can’t actually have an Olympics without athletes!

  • PeteWa

    a message from the IOC

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    But I’ll give them marks for the flexibility to try to do so while simultaneously shoving its head up its ass.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And a keystone example to show what boycotts are supposed to do and how they can be effective.

    People can argue all they want about “Stoli is Russian/isn’t”, the whole point is that particular brand of vodka is entirely identified in the public mind as being from Russia, and it pulled the issue of Russia’s anti-gay laws up into the news cycles. No media outlet or news organization is going to say, “People, businesses, and bars — particularly gay bars — are boycotting Stoli and pouring it in the streets. Why? Nobody really knows. Guess they’re just doing it for no reason.”

  • cole3244

    blah blah blah, talk is cheap, let the games begin and where’s the rug.

  • Indigo

    And their suggested line of action is . . . ?

  • usagi

    Are you not trying to influence how they’re going to handle it?

  • TheOriginalLiz

    I guess they got worried about their cash flow

  • usagi

    Stoli was a proof of concept.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Full Boycott

  • uhhuhh

    The USOC has lost all credibility after trying to speak out of both sides of its mouth.

  • notafraidofchange

    NBC is crapping in their Depends right now because their $4 BILLION investment is about to blow up in their face! Advertisers are RUNNING away from the NBC & the Olympics and its toxic connection to anti-gay bigotry and Russian draconian intolerance.

  • Lars

    I work for an organization that is a huge supporter of the Olympics and also a huge supporter of gay/trans rights, so I’m waiting to see how they handle this.

  • Ron Robertson

    I liked what Harvey Fierstein said, let’s make it where you can no longer bash gay people, that the consequences are too great (I’m paraphrasing).

  • Berkshire_Boy

    They must be getting the message that this isn’t just going to go away quietly. I’m sure the corporate sponsors are beginning to get a little nervous too. They can’t have missed the sh*tstorm that hit Stoli just, because.

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