News | Olympics | Russia

U.S. Olympic Runner Nick Symmonds Speaks Out Against Russia's Anti-gay Law

Nick Symmonds

In a blog post published Wednesday, two-time U.S. Olympic runner and ally Nick Symmonds joined a growing chorus of athlete voices in speaking out against Russia's anti-gay propaganda law. Symmonds used the post to reiterate his support for LGBT rights and express his desire to keep politics off the playing field in Sochi next year.

Says Symmonds:

As an American, I believe in freedom of speech and equality for all, and therefore disagree with the laws that Russia has put in place. Given that I am currently residing in London, I will say, once again, that our LGBT neighbors deserve all the same rights as the rest of us. However, as an American who is about to reside in Moscow for 12 days [for the track and field world championship], this will be the last time I will mention this subject.

I say this not out of fear of prosecution by the Russian government, but out of respect for the fact that I will be a guest in the host nation. Just as I would not accept a dinner invite to a friend's house and then lecture them on how to raise their kids, neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people.

...

I will say now what I said before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when people asked me how I felt competing in a foreign country with questionable human rights standards: The playing field is not a place for politics. In a world rife with never-ending political battles, let the playing field be where we set aside our differences and compete for national pride and the love of sport.

If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country's generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union.

Hopefully, Symmonds will follow fellow athlete Blake Skjellerup's lead in wearing a rainbow pin at the upcoming Games as a sign of silent solidarity with human rights and LGBT equality.  

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. "[N]either will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people". What's that about???

    Posted by: Marty | Aug 9, 2013 7:27:52 PM


  2. I'm just going to say it: Our so-called "straight-allies" have no backbone. They aren't really here for us. The only people the gay community can truly depend on is each other, which is why we need to stop fighting each other so much and start being more forceful.

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 9, 2013 7:28:17 PM


  3. Oh yay! SILENT DEDICATION! That's really going to help! Thank you straightie for your passionate advocacy

    But gods forbid you lecture the Russian government on persecuting gay people

    why is this guy considered an ally again?

    Posted by: Sparky | Aug 9, 2013 7:32:45 PM


  4. @ Hypocritcal Nick Symmonds: "Just as I would not accept a dinner invite to a friend's house and then lecture them on how to raise their kids, neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people."

    Yeah? Well, I wouldn't accept an invitation to dinner from a bigoted neighbor. Not even if I were getting an appearance fee.

    What's more, you'd better hope your hosts/paymasters don't get a look at the whore-commercial you made for Nike, because frankly Mr. NotQuiteGoodEnoughForGold, it don't get gayer than that. Although, I would hasten to not that you didn't show any balls in this commercial either.

    Posted by: Nick's a D.ick | Aug 9, 2013 7:35:22 PM


  5. Nick's Nike Commercial:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqM1Z6I0eK8

    Posted by: Nick's a D.ick | Aug 9, 2013 7:36:03 PM


  6. Symmonds says: "If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country's generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home."

    Right. And what if you lose, nose job? Russian boy says, "Ha! Simple Americans! We can trample on anyone's rights that we want. We're bigger and we win!"

    Any why effen SILENTLY dedicate your win to your LGBT back home?

    You score NO points. Go home.


    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2013 7:37:14 PM


  7. "The playing field is not a place for politics."

    Yeah, it kinda is.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 9, 2013 7:37:41 PM


  8. As others have said, this guy does not seem like much of an ally... and nothing he says indicates he would wear a rainbow pin. Quite the opposite.

    I'd also just point out, human rights are not politics. They could not be more different.

    Posted by: rustytrawler | Aug 9, 2013 7:43:08 PM


  9. I bet he "pretend voted" for Obama too!

    Posted by: Singlet | Aug 9, 2013 7:46:04 PM


  10. SILENTLY dedicate your win to your gay and lesbian friends back home?!? I will not so silently tell you to Drop Dead, and No Thanks.

    Not that I object to everything he says. In sport, as in other international pursuits, you have to accept hospitality from some unsavory players. And yes, on one level it would be rude to bite that hand.

    But this athletic exception to political opinion involving human rights is absurd and unconscionable. The more these athletes proclaim an exception for their own pursuits, the more cowardly they seem to me.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 9, 2013 7:47:41 PM


  11. Well, at least a straight athlete competing in the upcoming Olympics has spoken out against Russia's anti-gay law. He may be the first American to do it, the first I know of, and very few in other countries have done so either.

    Nick Symmonds, I'm sure he believes in equality for LGBT people. But, clearly, he values athletics over the persecution of Russian gays, and potential persecution of LGBT Olympians. That comes as no surprise. I don't expect very many straight athletes to put themselves out there for us. It just isn't going to happen, unfortunately.

    As we've more or less seen this entire situation regarding Russia (and really, all countries with extreme anti-gay abuses) we're basically in this on our own.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 9, 2013 7:49:23 PM


  12. Really, it's not even about Nick Symmonds. It's about the fact sports are, clearly, placed on a pedestal ABOVE LGBT rights in the United States of America, and globally. If you didn't think that was the case before, now you know. As much progress as we have made, we're still near the bottom of the totem poll.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 9, 2013 7:53:36 PM


  13. "Just as I would not accept a dinner invite to a friend's house and then lecture them on how to raise their kids, neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people."

    I believe his analogy is sadly off the mark. If his friend was known to abuse his children or allow others to abuse his children without defending them, would he even accept a dinner invitation? Sounds like he would. And then, if he saw them beating their kids or allowing other dinner guests to do so, he'd just keep quiet? This man is deliberately ignorant and self-serving.

    Posted by: Tina S | Aug 9, 2013 7:54:39 PM


  14. He should probably stay in London or Moscow because he's not welcome in the USA.

    Posted by: Kev C | Aug 9, 2013 7:55:07 PM


  15. Sorry to belabour the point, but... let's play like it's 1936 and Symmonds says:

    "If I am placed in a race with a German athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country's generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my Jewish friends back home."

    He needs to take the tape off his mouth. Now is the time.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2013 7:55:30 PM


  16. Seems some people want others to give up years of work or a whole career or they will say they don't care. Keep it up and frankly allies will leave your ungrateful side.

    Posted by: J Y | Aug 9, 2013 7:55:53 PM


  17. In Symmon's smarmy, self-righteous sermon he failed to mention that the wonderful people who invited him to dinner (whom he was reluctant to "lecture on how to raise their child") were beating them, torturing them, imprisoning them and looking the other way while others killed them or drove them to suicide.

    Somehow when this more accurate comparison is made, Symmons doesn't look like the high minded gracious guest that he portrays himself to be but rather a shameful, selfish, asinine part of the problem.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Aug 9, 2013 7:58:40 PM


  18. If someone invited me to their house and I learned they were pedophiles - I wouldn't go, if a crack dealer invited me to their house - I wouldn't go, if a family that abused their children expected me to sit idly by and watch the abuse - I would leave. If a muslim asked me to come by but not bring my husband - I wouldn't go. Guess we feel differently about this stuff.

    Posted by: tommyz | Aug 9, 2013 7:59:37 PM


  19. Yes, we want our sports figures to have some guts. They don't have to "give up" competing. I, for one, am not calling for them to boycott or not compete. But neither do they have to keep silent ... and comparing competing in a sporting event that happens to take place in Country X to being an honored guest of Country X is specious and self-serving.

    Compete, Win, Make a Statement. Cowardice and Sportsmanship do not go well together.

    Of course, if you don't care about this issue - so be it. But to say you care, and then say you'll keep quiet about it so as to make no waves ... well, that's yellow-bellied, craven cowardice right there. Big Sports Hero. Bah.

    Posted by: Zlick | Aug 9, 2013 8:00:47 PM


  20. @Tampazeke and TommyZ! Even if I were an athlete who had trained for years and years for this moment, I WOULDN'T GO! This is basic human rights 101.

    I'd LOVE to see all athletes just sit these Games out. I know it won't happen, but the thought of it helps me get to slep at night.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2013 8:05:12 PM


  21. Like everyone here, I too want athletes to do my protesting for me... and I am OUTRAGED when they refuse!

    Posted by: bierce | Aug 9, 2013 8:06:58 PM


  22. Oh, bite it Bierce. Sheesh. They (athletes) have the world stage at the moment. If they have balls, they KNOW what the right thing to do is.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2013 8:10:54 PM


  23. Nick Symmonds is your typical self-serving athlete. One wonders if he'd say the same thing if Russia introduced an anti-Jewish law.

    Posted by: Brian | Aug 9, 2013 8:11:16 PM


  24. All the Olympians should really Just Stay Home! How easy would that be? Just stay the eff home. You don't think I'm worth it? You don't think GENERATIONS of Russian gays are worth it? You don't think torture and humilation and death of same are worth it?

    There ARE things more important than Olympic gold, silver and bronze.

    There WILL be other venues.

    #JustStayHome

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 9, 2013 8:26:42 PM


  25. Don't know why my comment have been deleted.

    Don't you see, he actually supports the anti-gay law by being silent about that! Please next time he wants to say anything about gay rights, kick him out! I really hope he looses!

    Posted by: litper | Aug 9, 2013 8:42:39 PM


  26. 1 2 3 4 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Obama Addresses Russia's Anti-Gay Laws, Olympic Boycott: VIDEO« «