Nothing is more important than sports

Things are a bit busy for me these days, so blogging will be light. So, instead of coming up with something original, I’ll just toss you a link to this Adam Goldenberg post at Maclean’s. Mr. Goldenberg asks why we tolerate rampant homophobia from sportscasters?

Imagine that a country, on some other continent, just passed a law to prohibit foreign black couples from adopting its children. Imagine that the same law banned foreign couples of any race from adopting children if their home country allowed black people to get married. Imagine that, in the country in question, police regularly detained activists who advocated for equal rights for black people, and the national government had recently made it a crime to spread “black propaganda,” or anything that preached even basic tolerance for black citizens.

Now, imagine that a radio broadcaster in Canada went on the air to excuse such state-sanctioned racism as a legitimate, if regrettable, difference in “culture.” Imagine that he argued repeatedly that it would be inappropriate for Canada to condemn official race-based discrimination in other countries, and that we should have no qualms about sending our athletes to compete in an Olympic Games where black athletes would not even be allowed to hold hands in the Olympic Village.

How long do you think he would keep his job? More to the point, how many minutes do you think would elapse before his radio station’s advertisers started calling and demanding that he be fired?

If you change “black” to “gay” and “racism” to “homophobia,” then what you see above is an accurate depiction of Russia in 2013, on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. And yet, after TSN Montreal’s Ted Bird said (and blogged) on Tuesday morning that, in Russia, LGBT rights are “still a moral issue, and it’s no one’s place to impose their moral standards on someone else’s culture,” and that, as a consequence, “calls to boycott all things Russian … because Bill can’t hold Bob’s hand at the Olympic Village in Sochi are as dubious as they are impractical,” his job never once seemed to be even remotely in question.

Certainly a good question. Certainly a sad implication.

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9 thoughts on “Nothing is more important than sports

  1. Certainly not optimal. It could be – COULD be – that the only way he could circle Russian homophobia with his square Sports At All Costs brain was to appeal to the soothing properties of the Tolerance mantra. It was perhaps – PERHAPS – a misstep to interpret the mantra as implying tolerance for intolerance.

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  2. Oi. I’ve seen at least one article penned that similarly advocated not boycotting, but the argument had to do with the likely effectiveness of the boycott. I’m not sure I agreed with it, but it didn’t smack of the same nonsense that this guy seems to be trotting out.

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  3. The most compelling argument in support of not boycotting the Games is that it will not change any policy* and the people hurt most by this will be the athletes, who have a limited window to participate in the pinnacle of their craft. I think tourists should boycott the games, but we should let the athletes play.

    * Which I agree with

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  4. I’ve always despised the Olympics at a certain level. I’m always compelled to watch them, I love the competition, the grace and stamina of the athletes. I’m told there’s a lot of camaraderie between the athletes from various nations.

    What I can’t abide about the Olympics is the cheap nationalism of it all. If the Olympics should be about anything, they should be about the sports themselves, seeing the best athletes in the world compete for glory. Standing them on the podium giving them the medals, all fine and good. Playing the national anthem — bald-faced jingoistic nonsense.

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