The world will converge on the Black Sea resort of Sochi; site of Vladimir Putin’s summer residence, for the Winter Olympics in 2014. The spectacle will be tremendous, and the coverage breathless.
I won’t be watching. None of us should. We shouldn’t send a single team. Neither should any other civilized country.
Canada’s absence would be noted. By more than one nation. Indeed, many countries might feel that we’ve set an example. These are our games. The ones in which we stand a decent shot at a medal count that more than rivals that of China and the United States. We expect the hockey gold as our right, and our failure to achieve it triggers bursts of national soul searching like that which followed the 1998 Nagano Olympic loss.
We shouldn’t compete for it next year.
Because what is happening in Russia to the LGBT community is barbaric. It is twisted, it is evil, and we have seen it before. The IOC feels obliged to reassure gay athletes attending the games that they will be safe. Which is a pretty good indication that they won’t be.
When 50 members of Russia’s LGBT community attempted to celebrate pride this year, they were attacked in the street with rocks, and then carted away by police. I honestly don’t know if they’ve been seen since.
Gay tourists have been told, quite frankly, that they face criminal prosecution if they show any affection, have any meetings, or even so much as display a pride flag.
Let me put it this way. Bryan Burke’s son would never have played hockey again after that became public knowledge. He would have been openly hounded in the street, and probably arrested.
Not a single gay NHLer, and I suspect there are more than one even now, should attend this. They will not be safe. If they want a precedent, they should think of 1936, when the civilized world should probably have not sent teams to the Berlin olympics. If you think this is an exaggerated comparison, I remind you that it wasn’t for any German Jew, Gay, Gypsy, dissident, or other minority. They probably watched those Olympics. And most of them were dead before there was ever another games.
No, I don’t make that comparison lightly, and yes, I think that Vladimir Putin is that evil.
No one is safe while this is happening. No one is ever safe while this is happening. If you think you are, I assure you, they will come for you too in the end.
Russians love hockey. They live for it as much as we do. They’ll feel cheated if we’re not there to beat. Like they haven’t really won.
We can make a difference by doing this. We can be proud of our country.
In fact, there’s already a petition. Please sign it. It’s the right thing to do.