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Jan 19 2014

IOC Member Angry at President Roosevelt

Dateline 1932: An Italian member of the International Olympic Committee criticized President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for sending black athlete Jesse Owens to the Olympics in Berlin, saying it was “absurd” that a country would use the games to make a political statement about Nazism. Oh wait, that’s not quite how it happened

A senior Italian IOC member criticized the United States on Wednesday for including openly gay athletes in its official delegation for next month’s Sochi Olympics.

”It’s absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established),” Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting in Milan on Wednesday, in comments widely reported by Italian media. ”The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.”

The Italian Olympic Committee would not confirm or deny Pescante’s comments, but his speech was reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport and the ANSA news agency.

Asked for clarification later by The Associated Press, Pescante said he is not against gays.

”Of course not,” the 75-year-old Pescante told The AP by telephone. ”I just wanted to make the point not to let politics interfere with the Olympics.”

Yeah, because threatening to arrest athletes and attendees those who advocate equality is totally not letting politics interfere with the Olympics. Sending gay people to the games, that’s just outrageous. Asshole.

30 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    Correction. The Olympics were held in Berlin in 1936, not 1932. Frankenberger had not yet been appointed chancellor of Deutschland in 1932.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    Damn you colnago80 for sneaking ahead of me while I was signing in: that’s not the Olympic Spirit (even if it is really).
    Nice idea from Ed though.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    This reminds me of a populist conservative Christian argument also long-promoted by Bill O’Reilly (not sure if he still makes this case). And that’s the argument they think gay people should have equal rights, but that their being gay shouldn’t be “shoved down our [conservative Christians and their kiddies'] throats. So, “yes” to equal rights for gays, but that doesn’t include:
    gays getting married or,
    unrepentant and out gays becoming members of our churches or,
    gays being out in public where it’s clear their gay or,
    government acknowledgement of gays and their families’ existence.

    I just saw this argument in a letter to the editor of our regional paper of record a few weeks ago.

    In Mr. O’Reilly’s case I recall his once being outraged that a gay couple had the temerity to hold hands as the crowd left a movie theater.

  4. 4
    Chiroptera

    ”It’s absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established),” Mario Pescante said….

    I don’t know much about the decision to include these particular athletes on the US team; could it possibly be that they were included simply because they were among the best athletes in their field? If so, then taking them off the team due to hurting Russian bigots’ feelings would be making a political statement.

  5. 5
    skinnercitycyclist

    colnago80:

    Correction. The Olympics were held in Berlin in 1936, not 1932. Frankenberger had not yet been appointed chancellor of Deutschland in 1932.

    Also, and not to overly disturb your constant fixation on using some “sly” reference to Hitler not being named Hitler (long become tiresome, but don’t worry, my 9th-grade students like to do it too), Roosevelt was not inaugurated until 1933 either.

  6. 6
    dingojack

    “I won’t stand in front of you; I won’t stand behind you; I’ll stand with you.” – Peter Norman.
    Dingo

  7. 7
    colnago80

    Speaking of the Olympic games, here’s a news item about the arrest of gay activists by Russian authorities.

    http://goo.gl/1D2Hsv

  8. 8
    cptdoom

    I don’t know much about the decision to include these particular athletes on the US team; could it possibly be that they were included simply because they were among the best athletes in their field? If so, then taking them off the team due to hurting Russian bigots’ feelings would be making a political statement.

    I believe he was referring to the official US delegation to the Olympics, not the athletes themselves. The official delegation includes Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano and a former hockey medalist for the US, Caitlin Cahow. King and Cahow were already out when named, Boitano came out a couple days later. Which would make two lesbians and a gay man, but who cares about getting the details right.

  9. 9
    marcus

    Don’t read the comments at the link unless you want to see a shit-pot full of whining from the poor, misunderstood, straight bigots, some of who are wondering when they will get to have their “pride” parade. I don’t know how they bear the terrible discrimination that they face in this country. Please stop oppressing them!

  10. 10
    dingojack

    Marcus – what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?
    Dingo

  11. 11
    brucemartin

    Pescante said:
    to promote rights that sports supports daily.”

    But he objects to one country supporting rights in another country that doesn’t support those rights.
    Every action we see is a COUNTRY acting on rights.
    Where is this “sports” that supposedly acts somewhere? Are they not in a country? Are they overruling a country?
    The fact is there is no place run by “sports”, so sports can’t be supporting anything.
    So his claim is just a logic failure in the first place.

  12. 12
    marcus

    @ 10 Dingo “…what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?”
    Straight parallel black and white lines disappearing at the vanishing point. (No converging, dammit!) It would have to be painted on plywood.

  13. 13
    robertbaden

    We make a big deal about Jesse Owens NOW.

    Didn’t he still have to use the back entrance at the White House?

  14. 14
    Erp

    I don’t know much about the decision to include these particular athletes on the US team; could it possibly be that they were included simply because they were among the best athletes in their field?

    The people in question aren’t the athletes (though there are certainly gay and lesbian athletes on the team and almost certainly a fair number of allies in addition) but rather part of the delegation chosen by President Obama. The delegation includes skater Brian Boitano, tennis player Billie Jean King, and hockey player Caitlin Cahow who are out (though Boitano didn’t announce until after the appointment) as well as a few other former athletes (Eric Heiden, Bonnie Blair), the US Ambassador to Russia and a few others. I’m not sure who the other two lesbians are suppose to be. Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system and former homeland secretary, has never married so some rumor she is a lesbian, but, Bonnie Blair is married to someone of the opposite sex. The remaining two are both men, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Presidential advisor Rob Nabors.

    BTW the Olympics has been political for a hundred years and Obama is definitely making a statement and also in not sending a very senior government representative (President, Vice-President, First Lady, former President) or even the next level down (cabinet secretary). A lot of other major countries are also not sending delegations headed by top government representatives. In the UK the Princess Royal will attend but she is president of the British Olympic Association (and has been for 30 years) and so has duties in that role.

  15. 15
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    Let’s see. His argument is that sports supports something every day, therefore it is inappropriate to go to a sporting event and state that you support it? I assume that in his world, it would be wrong to use a sporting event to advocate exercise, let alone fair play on the field.

  16. 16
    Abdul Alhazred

    … And that’s the argument they think gay people should have equal rights, but that their being gay shouldn’t be “shoved down our [conservative Christians and their kiddies'] throats. So, “yes” to equal rights for gays, but that doesn’t include …

    I can put it more concisely.

    We should be free as long as we do nothing that smacks of visibility.

  17. 17
    blf

    Didn’t [Jesse Owens] still have to use the back entrance at the White House?

    No, it was even worse than that. From Ye Pfffft! of All Knowlegde:

    After the [ticker-tape] parade, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to reach the reception honoring him. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) never invited Jesse Owens to the White House following his triumphs at the Olympics games. …

    Owens said,

    “Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.

    Hitler sent Owens a commemorative inscribed cabinet photograph of himself. Honors were not bestowed upon Jesse Owens by either President Franklin D. Roosevelt or his successor Harry S. Truman during their terms.

  18. 18
    dingojack

    I wonder what Mario Pescante’s position was about playing sports in South Africa during the apartheid era?
    Sports sure were supporting something then. (Although some countries refused to play ball (so to speak) such as Australia).
    Dingo

  19. 19
    pacal

    blf no. 17:

    Didn’t [Jesse Owens] still have to use the back entrance at the White House?

    No, it was even worse than that. From Ye Pfffft! of All Knowlegde:

    After the [ticker-tape] parade, Owens had to ride the freight elevator at the Waldorf-Astoria to reach the reception honoring him. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) never invited Jesse Owens to the White House following his triumphs at the Olympics games. …

    Owens said,

    “Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.

    Hitler sent Owens a commemorative inscribed cabinet photograph of himself. Honors were not bestowed upon Jesse Owens by either President Franklin D. Roosevelt or his successor Harry S. Truman during their terms.

    Which makes this doubly fascinating, aside from the gruesome spectacle of Hitler behaving in one instance more morally proper than Roosevelt, is that Hitler was not in the least happy about Owens’ wins, which should not be a surprise considering Hitler’s truly incredible racism. However to not do the right thing was felt to be poor public relations so Hitler gritted his teeth and did the right thing. Roosevelt on the other hand felt it would be politically disadvantageous to publically honor Owens, i.e., upset the racists, so he snubbed Owens.

    Politics, getting people to do the right and sometimes the wrong thing.

  20. 20
    jnorris

    Dingo at #10: “Marcus – what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?” Whine Red.

  21. 21
    davem

    And all this comes from the country which is now letting Berlusconi back into power… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25802399

  22. 22
    David Marjanović

    Although some countries refused to play ball (so to speak) such as Australia

    New Zealand did play rugby. But the All Blacks first did a real haka and then trounced the Springboks. :-)

  23. 23
    David Marjanović

    And all this comes from the country which is now letting Berlusconi back into power… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25802399

    *epic repeated headdesking in slow motion, with splinters flying all around*

  24. 24
    Area Man

    BTW the Olympics has been political for a hundred years…

    The very concept of the Olympics is political. This was as true in ancient Greece as it is today. The whole point is, “We’re going to put aside our differences for a bit and pretend like we’re all one big, happy family.” So yeah, complaining about using the Olympics to make a statement about gay rights — when it was merely a response to what the host country was doing no less — is stupidly ignorant.

  25. 25
    dingojack

    David Marjanović – I’m sure Kiwis would find the concept that Tony Abbot is their ‘fearless leader’ too, surprising (to say the least).
    :) Dingo

  26. 26
    democommie

    “And that’s the argument they think gay people should have equal rights, but that their being gay shouldn’t be “shoved down our [conservative Christians and their kiddies'] throats”

    Damn! I STILL can’t find the “KKKristian deepthroat” porno channel–and there HAS to be one out there on teh intertoobz.

    “Marcus – what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?”

    No clue on what the flag would look like, but I know that the pole would be long, thick and hard, ‘cuz, um, u’know, Freud.

    Signor Pissantce’s comments should not be read without some context. I’m certain that the 1936 “Abyssynian Fotbol Tour” was Benito Mussolini’s way of letting the poor, benighted, GODLESS darkies of Ethiopia experience the TROO KKKristian Love of his technologically, morally and ethically superior armed forces. It did take killing approximately a half million Ethiopians to get the job done but, hey, you can’t make an omellete without killing the flock.

  27. 27
    Reginald Selkirk

    You guys have it all wrong. Putin can’t be a homophobe because he likes Elton John’s music.

  28. 28
    dingojack

    Demo – “… the pole would be long, thick and hard…”
    And shoved down their throats (whilst on their knees) no doubt….

    Putin – the ultimate Russian ‘bear’. grrrrr.

    :) Dingo

  29. 29
    TxSkeptic

    @ 10 Dingo “…what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?”

    Blue over pink, suggesting one man & one woman with the man always on top, figuratively and literally.

  30. 30
    freehand

    dingojack: Marcus – what would be the ‘straight pride’ flag, I wonder?

    I thought the unisex public restroom sign had already been selected?

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