US Olympic Committee wants gay athletes to comply with Russian anti-gay law, go back in closet

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said on Wednesday that he wants gay, and gay-friendly, athletes attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia to comply with Russia’s draconian new anti-gay law that essentially forces gays back in the closet.

The Russian law is so unfortunately broad that this means the US Olympic Committee expects gay athletes to, among other things, leave their legally-wed husbands and wives at home, lest anyone see their spouses in public and claim it’s “gay propaganda.”

After all, what more positive image of being gay can you send to children than an Olympic gold medalist hugging, or worse, kissing his husband after winning a race or receiving a medal – or simply holding hands in public – just as straight Olympic athletes do?

USOC head: Gays should obey Russian anti-gay law

Here’s Blackmun’s quote:


USOC CEO Scott Blackmun

Q: You might have to get involved if an athlete decides to make a protest.

A: “You can’t judge in advance what you’re going to do. Each Games is different. The athletes are always going into countries with laws different than his or her own country. They’re going to agree with those laws in some ways, they’re going to disagree with those laws in other ways. It’s our strong desire that our athletes comply with the laws of every nation that we visit. This law is no different.“[emphasis added]

Really?  So you’d want our athletes to comply with racist laws, and anti-semitic laws, and misogynist laws?  Really, USOC?

And if this were Nazi Germany, the US Olympic committee would still want our athletes to comply with the anti-semitic Nuremeberg laws?  Really?

Let’s walk through the Nurememberg Laws, one by one, and see what the US Olympic Committee’s Scott Blackmun just agreed to.

Marriages with Jews are invalid

Section 1: Marriages between Jews and citizens (German: Staatsangehörige) of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages concluded in defiance of this law are void, even if, for the purpose of evading this law, they were concluded abroad.

Sex with Jews is forbidden outside of marriage

Section 2: Extramarital sexual intercourse between Jews and subjects of the state of Germany or related blood is forbidden.

So the USOC’s Blackmun is okay with that? After all, it’s just another law, this law is no different, right?

It’s clear the USOC and the IOC have caved to the Russians.

Supposedly the IOC was working with the Russians to get an exemption from the law for the Olympics, the same way the IOC got an exemption from the Nazi’s anti-gay laws for the 1936 Hitler Olympics in Berlin.  Now clearly the exemption is passé – gay, and gay friendly, athletes will follow Russia’s “closet” law, or else.

Not that an exemption is enough, but geez, to accept a lower standard for Putin than the Olympics placed on Hitler.  Seriously?

Not to mention, the Olympics weren’t about following the local hate laws of the host government.  They were about putting that hate aside for the Olympics.  Spartans didn’t threaten to arrest Athenians.

No matter.   If the USOC and IOC want to side with Vladimir Putin in an all-out war with the gay community and our straight allies, they’ve got it.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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61 Responses to “US Olympic Committee wants gay athletes to comply with Russian anti-gay law, go back in closet”

  1. This is really wack.

  2. karmanot says:

    “a day without a Nazi comparison is like…” A day without a grayzip trolling.

  3. FUFatherEisenman says:

    In other words, Don’t upset the applecart.

  4. FUFatherEisenman says:

    What if kipC is an Olympic athlete?

  5. Iamjustsaying says:

    You don’t have to comply. Don’t go.

  6. Iamjust saying says:

    The show will go on. Russia don’t care about America view point on this issue. However, regardless of were you stand on this law, Americans must respect the laws of this country. For those who choose to disregard their law remember you’re not in Kansas. Their prison aren’t a country club.

  7. Palto says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if people in the IOC’s family were mistaken for being gay in this hellhole of a place? Me thinks that would send the message home.

  8. Palto says:

    And why do you think there is the comparison genius. Answer: because they’re similar.

  9. kenthomes says:

    This joker looks like a Mormon!

  10. grayzip says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, a day without a Nazi comparison is like… well who the hell knows, amirite?

  11. jytaqetizah says:

    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

    According to his bio, he lives
    with his wife, Anne, in Colorado Springs, which is America’s most
    conservative county, and home to the hate group Focus on the Family. So
    fair bet that he is a far rightwing Christian Taliban nutter.

  12. Swami_Binkinanda says:


  13. litebleu says:

    Lets start a boycott of NBC. #boycottnbc
    Only by getting to the sponsors of the winter games will the IOC get the message. If we could affect the numbers during the Nielsen sweeps October 31 – November 27, 2013

  14. karmanot says:

    “It’s like sneering at a beautiful painting because it’s nothing but smears of metal oxides on a canvas” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Most Nazi and Stalinist art is not only worthy of a good sneer, but righteous contempt.

  15. Yohannon (Just Yohannon) says:

    It’s simple, really: Let’s see how grand a spectacle these idiotic homophobes in Russia can put on if we all refuse to watch, attend, or spend a dime on the useless bits of memorabilia they crank out.

    Boycott Sochi 2014!

  16. runfastandwin says:

    “No matter. If the USOC and IOC want to side with Vladimir Putin in an
    all-out war with the gay community and our straight allies, they’ve got
    it.” YES!

  17. runfastandwin says:

    Would he ask this of Jews, or Hispanics, or Africans, or heterosexuals? WTF?

  18. runfastandwin says:

    I get that feeling too.

  19. runfastandwin says:

    It’s also the home of the USOC headquarters, but yes, it’s the worst place in America due to the many “christians” that live there.

  20. BeccaM says:

    Where you heard ‘sneering’, I was merely trying to be clinical. Any judgmentalism is completely unintentional and unintended.

  21. Monoceros Forth says:

    …because viewers are enjoying the events, perhaps even feeling some jolts of adrenaline and sympathetic serotonin–

    You know, I have to stop you right there for a bit. I know it sounds detached and intelligent to speak of ordinary human emotions in such biochemical terms. It’s also cheap as all hell. I might as well denigrate any pleasurable feeling in similar terms, if what I wanted to do was turn my nose up at the notion of pleasurable feelings altogether.

    I’m not a huge fan of sporting events of any sort, aside from the occasional leisurely game of baseball, and even there I don’t wish to participate much any more. But to sneer about “adrenaline” and “serotonin” is silly. It’s like sneering at a beautiful painting because it’s nothing but smears of metal oxides on a canvas.

  22. cole3244 says:

    another white good ole boy that got where he is because of his color and connections, green is the elites color of choice.

  23. BeccaM says:

    What I found interesting about the Brundage story was how at first he spoke out rather strongly against the Nazi practices and expressed what sounded like genuine doubts as to the appropriateness of having the ’36 games in Berlin.

    Then he went there as an invited guest, apparently was treated to an extremely lavish stay, and returned home as a total convert.

    Personally, I’m guessing large suitcases of cash were involved as well…

  24. BeccaM says:

    The money comes from the corporate sponsors, and the 0.01% rentier classes who want to indulge prestigious expensive hobbies.

    But mostly it’s corporate sponsors who use the Olympics games to promote oodles of in-people’s-faces advertising. Just view some videos of events in prior games over the last decade, and you’ll see nearly every square inch of available on-camera space is plastered with corporate logos and advertisements.

    There’s also a degree of subliminal psychology going on there, because viewers are enjoying the events, perhaps even feeling some jolts of adrenaline and sympathetic serotonin — and these pleasurable feelings become associated in the brain with the company logos that are being seen repeatedly, but not consciously registered.

  25. Max_1 says:

    Proof that the IOC does NOT support the athletes…
    … Instead, protecting it’s assets.

    Umm, can someone please tell the IOC their assets aren’t corporate sponsors and their profits…

  26. Monoceros Forth says:

    It’s one of the worst-kept secrets in the world that the winner of an Olympic hosting bid always goes to the city that hurls the biggest fistfuls of bribe money at the IOC. I can only assume that, having been bought, the IOC wishes to claim the dignity at least of staying bought. (Figure of speech borrowed from PM Harold Macmillan.)

  27. kipC says:

    Who the hell does this prick think he is? I’m supposed to comply with a law that dehumanizes me? Fuck you, Blackmun. You have a big fucking mess on your hands, and it’s just going to get worse.

  28. DonewithDems says:

    I lived in a city that was trying to host the olympics. IOC members stay for free in luxurious suites, eat gourmet meals for free in the most expensive restaurants and chauffeured around in limousines. They receive many gifts and their families also receive gifts. Most of them are millionaires and billionaires and this is a free vacation for them. It’s all about how much the local officials want to spend building facilities and how many freebies they give away. After watching that I lost all respect for the olympics. It’s really not even about the athletes. If there weren’t corporate sponsorships and advertising pouring bags of money into it, very few people would be interested.

    If the Russians were putting up anti-semitic laws or Jim Crow laws there would be global outrage. Instead they tell LGBT people they just need to shut up and stay in the closet. I have no sympathy for athletes who can’t see what all of this is really about. By participating in this crap they are giving their passive approval.

  29. The_Fixer says:

    What I find particularly short-sighted of these people is that even if one is not gay, there is no guarantee of his or her personal safety.

    You don’t have to actually be gay to get assaulted in Russia – you just have to dress the wrong way or say the wrong thing in order to provoke these people. Say one thing that could be interpreted (or misinterpreted, remember that there is a language barrier here) as being pro-gay, and you’re subject to arrest or a beating from the neo-nazis skinheads who have appointed themselves guardians of the “Russian Culture”.

    Even if I was straight and unconcerned about the plight of gay people in Russia, I certainly would worry that, as a spectator, something horrible could go wrong.

    Why risk such endangerment? I would tell anyone who is thinking of travelling to Russia that they are basically taking their life and placing it into the hands of chance. Not to mention some very hateful people.

  30. usagi says:

    Where do they get their money? How do we cut it off?
    Remember, the Olympics are about money. Only money. Everything else is secondary.
    Don’t stop with boycotting, cut off their sources of funding by any means available. SF Fog Rugby has already started the “should we terminate our USOC relationship?” conversation. Make sure every recreational sport you’re connected with begins terminating any relationship with the USOC and the IOC.

    They’re under the mistaken impression this will blow over, at worst when the 2014 games are over. Don’t let it.

  31. Ninong says:

    So the USOC thinks the new Russian anti-gay law is no different than any other law. No discrimination at all, right? Just go, be happy! Are the Europeans adopting the same sort of laissez faire attitude towards discrimination? Are they willingly cooperating with the Russian government’s new law or are they speaking out against it?

    Let’s ask Denmark, since Crown Prince Frederik happens to be a member of the International Olympic Committee.

    Crown Prince Frederik, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), have responded to the urging of political parties to speak out against the laws that persecute sexual minorities.

    “The law is highly objectionable,” Søvndal told Politiken. “It risks promoting discrimination and attacks against minorities in the Russian society and we have already seen examples of this. The law gives an official stamp of approval [to discriminate]. We will ensure that Russia upholds its international commitments.”

    Søvndal added that he would raise this issue at the European Council meeting in September, where Russia is represented, and even bring it up directly with the Russian foreign minister.

    Russia passed a law in June outlawing “homosexual propaganda” that targets minors. The vague law effectively outlaws the public support of homosexuality and makes it punishable with 15 days of prison and a fine of up to 170,000 kroner.

    In an email to Politiken, Crown Prince Frederik wrote that the IOC believes in the right to participate in sport without discrimination.

    “If individual groups are discriminated against it would be a breach of the Olympic charter, the Olympic spirit and not least the contract that each host country makes with the IOC. The IOC president has made this clear to the Russian hosts,” Crown Prince Frederik wrote.

    It is unclear whether the law will be enforced during the Games and whether openly gay spectators and athletes could risk punishment if found to be breaching the laws. While the IOC has stated that it expects the Russian government to put the laws on hold, a Russian MP responsible for writing the law, Vitaly Milonov, countered that the government wouldn’t have the authority to do so.

    The government has yet to make any statements about whether the anti-gay legislation will influence whether or not they will attend the Sochi Games next year.

  32. jomicur says:

    You’re right. We should all cross ourselves and genuflect when we hear His Holy Name.

  33. emjayay says:

    It’s amazing how every day the highly paid hacks in charge of anything and everything relating to the upcoming Olympics from Russian commissars and even famous athletes paid to be in charge of the housing to corporations and the IOC officials manage to just throw fuel on the fire.

  34. emjayay says:

    Did my discovery of the little picture posting thingie in these comments the other day start something? Good. Love the pix comments.

  35. emjayay says:

    That comment reminds me of an article about even pet food or new cars or something on other sites, and comments refer to Obummer or Mooshelle.

  36. Ryan says:

    Can we pass a law that makes it obligatory to knee Blackmun in the groin?

  37. jomicur says:

    And laughs up his sleeve at all the LGBT Obamabots who keep defending him anyway.

  38. douglas01 says:

    FUCK YOU IOC, I have no intention of going back in the closet. And to prove my point I not supporting anything to do with the Olympics including not watching them or buying products sold by sponsors

  39. jomicur says:

    You’re one up on me. I haven’t gotten a response from any of the sponsors I emailed–and it’s been over a week since I contacted them. Coke was at the top of my list. I might as well have whistled into an empty Coke bottle.

  40. John Masters says:

    Nope…make it clear to NBC and their advertisers during the Olympics that we will boycott them and maybe even protest in front of their stores/offices. If the ad dollars start drying up, you’ll see attitudes start to change.

  41. PeteWa says:

    what a profile in courage you are, Blackmun.

  42. GlennF says:

    TampaZeke said:
    “It seems to me that there has, in the last few days, been a concerted
    and concerning massive corporate and official shift on this issue toward
    supporting Russia and giving a big and unapologetic “FUCK YOU!” to the
    international GLBT community. The US Olympic Committee, the IOC,
    McDonalds, Coca-Cola, NBC…”

    I suspect that concerted massive corporate and official shift began when President Obama himself went out of his way in his news conference last Friday to outright say that he’s opposed to a boycott of Putin’s Sochi Olympics. Once again, our “fierce advocate” lets us down.

  43. nycfellow says:

    This guy is the new Avery Brundage. Perhaps, like Brundage, he’s even making money off of this on the side.

  44. nicho says:

    Interesting comparison of Russia and China. Not that China is a bastion of human rights.

  45. nicho says:

    Have you read the list of IOC members? It’s a Who’s Who of the 0.0001%.

  46. Hue-Man says:

    Perhap it’s time to have a quiet word with LGBT employees and allies of all international broadcasters, sponsors, and the IOC. “I am unwilling to travel to Russia because there is no guarantee that I won’t be imprisoned or subject to extreme violence or even murder by neo-Nazi Russian thugs.” Call it a sick-out or a sincerely held concern about personal safety.

  47. nicho says:

    Yes. People don’t go to Colorado Springs for “the waters.” It’s an evangelical snake pit.

  48. worfington says:

    According to his bio, he lives with his wife, Anne, in Colorado Springs, which is America’s most conservative county, and home to the hate group Focus on the Family. So fair bet that he is a far rightwing Christian Taliban nutter.

  49. I’d like to know if he’s married to a man or a woman, personally.

  50. I love this, and will use it, thanks for posting

  51. Jonas Grumby says:

    I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Olympics for over 6 decades. No more. Ever.

  52. Yep.

  53. fritzrth says:

    It’s called complicity.

  54. TampaZeke says:

    Neither are the Principles of the Olympic Charter (except for Rule 50) apparently!

  55. TampaZeke says:

    It seems to me that there has, in the last few days, been a concerted and concerning massive corporate and official shift on this issue toward supporting Russia and giving a big and unapologetic “FUCK YOU!” to the international GLBT community. The US Olympic Committee, the IOC, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, NBC…

    They’re no longer even pretending that they are monitoring the situation and weighing their options. They seem to have now completely made up their minds that they are going to risk it and go all in with Putin. It’s becoming more and more like 1936 by the day!

  56. Leota2 says:

    I knew the USOC would align with this bullshit. Boycott!

  57. Jim Olson says:

    Sign me up. I’ve been writing emails to sponsors, to NBC, to anyone I can think of for a week now. P&G emailed me back personally to say that they’re taking this very seriously. You can write directly to Leticia. [email protected]

  58. caphillprof says:

    How can we get even with Scott Blackmun? Give him his comeuppance?

  59. voltronforce says:

    Wow I am definitely not going to watch the games.

  60. kevinbgoode says:

    Someone needs to ask Scott Blackmun if he is married- and if that marriage wasn’t recognized in some other country (no full faith and credit clause internationally, right?) if he would willingly remove his own wedding band for the duration of the Games and leave his spouse at home.

    One also wonders if this were 30 years ago, and the IOC chose South Africa as the site of the Olympics, if the head of the US Olympic Committee would be just as willing to ask black athletes to comply with the apartheid laws of that nation.

  61. Indigo says:

    Human rights is not a priority on the IOC. Neither is Olympic virtue.

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