Billie Jean King: Athletes Should Not Protest Against Anti-LGBT Laws at Sochi Winter Games
Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who will be part of the official US delegation to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics is now saying that athletes should not protest for LGBT rights at the games citing Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which bans political demonstrations by participants.
“I don’t want any athlete getting in trouble.” King said. “Before I knew about Rule 50, I thought it would be sweet to wave some flags or something. But they can get in big trouble and have their medal taken away and also be sent home.”
King said she’ll walk in the opening ceremony, attend ice hockey and figure skating events and meet US athletes during her three-day visit to the Games.
“I’m all excited about meeting different athletes and watching them do what they do,” King said in an AP interview “The Olympics is foremost about the athletes coming together, and they have worked so hard for this moment to be representing their country and competing.
“That’s the essence of what it’s about.”
“Maybe we’ll help the LGBT community in Russia, I hope there will be a connection for them and help them not feel alone and disenfranchised,” King continued: “Personally, I hope it helps the movement take another step forward so people will realise we’re just like everybody else. It should be a non-issue. It’s just like people of colour in our country and other places, it has to be a non-issue. I just think it’s important that we’re seen and we’re out and we’re free,” King said. “I hope that I’ll meet people, maybe in Russia, who are concerned and have discussions. There’s nothing like meeting people in person and just listening to them and exchanging information and building relationships. The Russian people have always been so wonderful to me, personally.”
Yes Billie Jean the medals are so much more important than the violence, persecution, and human rights abuses against members of your own community in Russia.