The USTA Sucks… #2!
I just spent the day watching some international sports events on and off. One was the World Athletic Championships in Oregon and the other was FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary. I was delighted to see that neither allowed Russian or Belarusian athletes to compete. Not that I have any bad feeling toward those athletes, but sadly, their countries actions in Ukraine qualify them as participants in Putin’s / Russia’s atrocities. They are, by association, implicated in those atrocities.
So what’s that got to do with the USTA you ask? Well, the USTA lacks the moral compass of these two world athletic organizations and is allowing athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the US Open…the US freakin’ OPEN. That sucks on some many levels it’s impossible to express the depth of my disgust for that organization. I’d vote they be forced to stop referring to themselves as the US Tennis Association and drag the rest of the country down their gutless path with them. If they are going to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete without their country status the USTA should be forced to give up calling itself the US open as well.
So, I know that’s a rant, and I usually try not to, but this action by the USTA is beyond belief. What is their motivation? I know their position statement talks about athletes being “separate” from their countries, but that is not the reality of world sport. Why do they choose to go down this path of allowing Russia and Belarus even the potential of a moment of national pride? What the F*** are they thinking?
Sorry, I started to rant again.
Consider these words from Wimbledon leadership;
“Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.”
Those are the words of a responsible global sports organization. It took guts…which the USTA does not seem to have. I am sorry for Daniil Medvedev and the rest of the Russian or Belarusian athletes, but their people…and that includes them…put that maniac Putin in power, and/or supported his maniacal, madman murdering of innocent Ukrainian civilians. They gave him the keys to their nuclear arsenal. All of Russia and Belarus is responsible for the actions of their governments, and until they sort that out they’re out! Sorry, but Wimbledon was right and the USTA is wrong! Just way sick wrong!
In my opinion, and that of many, many Americans, by embracing Russian and Belarusian athletes the USTA is condoning and embracing Putin’s actions in Ukraine, rather than taking the opportunity to condemn him. And because of that, the Official Partners of the USTA and US Open are embracing him as well. Looking at the US Open website, those Partners include;
American Express, Chase, Emirates, J.P. Morgan, Chubb, Evian, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Deloitte, IBM, Polo, Rolex, Body Armor, Grey Goose, Heineken, Mount Sinai, Ticketmaster, Lavazza, The New York Times, Tiffany & Co., Wilson…and their broadcast partner ESPN.
These companies need to recognize what they are embracing; what they are PARTNERS in. The public needs to recognized that all of these companies, in allowing their names and brands to be used in association with the US Open’s inclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes, are embracing and accepting, directly or indirectly, what’s happening in Ukraine. They are handing Putin and his cronies the consolation of appearing on one of the world biggest and most important stages. That will certainly give me reason to avoid their brands in the future if they allow their Partner, the USTA, to persist with this affront to global civil society.
Again, I feel sorry for Mr. Medvedev, Ms. Azarenka, Ms. Sabalenka and all the other athletes caught up in Putin’s madness; no matter what their sport. I really do. But clean up your houses! Russians put Putin in power, “reelecting” him more than once, and Russians, all of them, must pay the price of unleashing that mad pestilence on the world. I’ll give the Belarusians a bit of slack as their leader is a Putin puppet that they had little choice in selecting. But none the less they need to stand against their governments actions…and they have not.
Here’s a closing thought; When Hitler was waging war on Poland in 1939 did German athletes compete on the world stage? No! In fact the 1940 and 1944 Summer Olympics were cancelled because of Hitlers actions against his neighbors in Europe. Certainly a different time than today, but the actions of Mr. H and Mr. P are so similar that tolerance and accommodation of any kind must be unthinkable.