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NHL's Alex Ovechkin Ready to Play for Team Russia, Won't Talk Anti-Gay Laws or Olympic Boycott


Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who played for Team Russia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, joined the Russian Hockey Federation this week in Moscow to help show off the new hockey jerseys for next year's Games. And while Ovechkin was quite eager to talk to reporters about the the Nike designed jerseys and his desire to see Russia win gold, he seemed less so when questioned about the controversy surrounding Russia's anti-gay 'propaganda' ban.

"[There are] calls to boycott the games?" Ovechkin said. "Our job is to play. I'd rather speak about that."

With all the media coverage around the issue, as well as other NHL stars speaking out about the anti-gay laws, it's hard to believe Ovechkin is completely unaware of the human rights violations going on in his home country... 

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  1. I thought Nike was pro-gay...or are they just pro-money as usual????...

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Aug 28, 2013 8:44:05 PM

  2. If only the Washington Capitals would tell him to stay in his home country, Russia after he plays on their team in the Olympics.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 28, 2013 8:45:47 PM

  3. Ban this thug from North America.

    Posted by: MK Ultra | Aug 28, 2013 8:56:35 PM

  4. If you want to hurt the entire population of russian men, stop shipping Nike products to Russia. They will surrender naked to America.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 28, 2013 9:15:01 PM

  5. Why should he? It's his country. Not yours.

    Posted by: WH | Aug 28, 2013 9:58:33 PM

  6. It is ludicrous to think that these Russian athletes do not know about the anti-gay 'propaganda' law and the intense reaction against it around the world.
    Svetlana Kuznetsova summed it up nicely. "In Russia if you don't support Putin you are in big, big trouble."

    Posted by: excy | Aug 28, 2013 10:05:24 PM

  7. Please. What possible answer could he give? If he wants to play in the Olympics, he can't go against Russian politics. End of story. If he spoke out, they could arrest him or ban him from playing. It's easy for us to say he should quit, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all Olympic athletes.

    Posted by: Ny Larson | Aug 28, 2013 10:08:18 PM

  8. NY Larson, I see your point and don't necessarily disagree... except that this guy played hockey for Russia in the 2010 Olympics, so not once in a lifetime.

    I do wish that he would take his unique position and speak out and take the consequences of being banned from playing for the Russian team (assuming he spoke out here, not there. Speaking out there for a Russian national could have far too dire consequences).

    Posted by: Cal | Aug 28, 2013 10:30:22 PM

  9. So both to CAL and NY Larson . . . I can see it's a difficult choice.

    A. Play in a ball game


    B. Support human rights.

    Pretty messed up priorities if you don't choose option B.

    Posted by: Continuum | Aug 28, 2013 10:55:17 PM

  10. "Continuum" : I don't see you sacrificing your career for the cause, either.

    And I certainly don't see you risking your life.

    STFU, you hypocrite

    Posted by: Reallygay | Aug 28, 2013 11:11:11 PM

  11. Sports figures are supposed to embody and inspire courage and bravery. Nobody wants a cowardly athlete who says: Hey, I'm just doing my job. I'm a moron, a performing monkey. Don't ask me anything, just pay me. What crappy athletes we have today.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 29, 2013 1:07:12 AM

  12. I agree with those who are critical of everyone saying "risk it all for gay rights" while they sit comfortably at their desks and tsk tsk. When you (who are gay) are willing to through your livlihoods away for "the cause" then you can expect others to do the same. Until then, please.

    Posted by: TruthSerum | Aug 29, 2013 2:03:23 AM

  13. "Our job is to play. I'd rather speak about that."

    I bet. So what?

    Sometimes, playtime waits a bit, while adults have to address reality.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 29, 2013 4:19:11 AM

  14. @Truthserum, you don't have a clue what gays have endured and risk just by living. And yet you want some pampered and entitled athlete sissy to not risk his precious little job so he won't make the big bad politicians angry at him, boo hoo. Grow a ball or two.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 29, 2013 4:31:24 AM

  15. I don't blame him for side-stepping at all. I would prefer to think it's because he's against the laws vs. being anti-gay and not wanting to risk his N. American fanbase, and out of all the Russian NHL players I do think he's embraced American culture a lot more than most others.

    I wish I could say I'm surprised everyone here is being so harsh about what's basically 'no comment'. Ovi may live in D.C., but his family lives in Moscow; he's not necessarily the only person he's leaving vulnerable if he's critical of the Russian government.

    And it is possible--as I think any LGBT person in the US would know--to support your country without supporting all of its policies.

    Posted by: dex | Aug 29, 2013 5:28:26 AM

  16. @ Continuum: you know how I know that you don't know anything about hockey?

    Come on... guess...

    Posted by: Rich F. | Aug 29, 2013 8:56:37 AM

  17. And when it comes to statements from Russian hockey players, I respect Ovechkin's MUCH more than I respect Kovalchuk's. At least Ovechkin didn't make a statement expressing approval of the law.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Aug 29, 2013 8:59:34 AM

  18. I never said I approved of what this man is doing. I just commented that it seems ignorant to me to be surprised at what he said. How many of you out there in the United States who live in places with no gay rights laws are still afraid to come out at work for fear you will be fired? Would you take a stand and risk your career to promote a civil rights cause?

    Posted by: Ny Larson | Aug 29, 2013 9:46:28 AM

  19. @NYLarson, think of gay athletes. They face discrimination and discouragement at every phase of their career. Many in the US do not come out for fear of discrimination and lose of career. In Russia, it's undoubtedly worse.

    And now you, and others, are saying that straight players should fear for their careers simply for showing support for gays. C'mon guys, show some backbone. If enough straight and gay athletes showed support, the authorities and owners would back down because they need good athletes.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 29, 2013 7:46:37 PM

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