Monday, February 11, 2008

Britain moves against offensive Oly protests - Sunday February 10, 2008 3:39PM

Original post from Feb 10, 7:46 pm. Update below from Feb 11 at noon.

The world gathers and the UK players do nothing else, by design, as stipulated in contracts. - Olympics - Britain moves against offensive Oly protests - Sunday February 10, 2008 3:39PM British athletes at the Olympics must sign a new clause in their contracts which prohibits making politically sensitive remarks or gestures during the Beijing Games.

"The reality is, given the level of political scrutiny of the world's media on these games and the way China will handle them, the BOA felt it was sensible and proper to flag that rule to our athletes," British Olympic Association communications director Graham Mewson said Sunday.

The International Olympic Committee already has a rule which states that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."
The rules of the game are in the rulebook. What is out of bounds is marked, clearly.

What goes on in life, beyond the playing court, is not as 'clear cut' as what goes on in the time of the competition. Rules of life are NOT so neat nor so specific.

Review: Sports are games of space, time and relationship. (Kevin DeForest, author)

Life is not a game.

Life is about space, time and relationship.

As the UK tells its athletes, officials and coaches -- under contract -- about their restrictions in life, beyond the game, these sports warriors become less free.

Athletes are masters of time space and relationship. And, we play in sport so we can develop skills that are transferable to life -- beyond the game.

Sports should help us become 'better.' That's better citizens, better consumers, better managers of time, better organizers of relationships, better thinkers in a diverse, tolerant society.

Rules and contracts like this, from the Brits, make me sad. They make sports less human. They diminish the Olympic experience. They zap freedom. And, finally, they are hard to enforce. So, they don't work as intended.

More problems fuss about as a result of these rules and contracts. Let the black-gloved fisted salute occur from the medal podium as a sign of solidarity because the effort to prevent such is to put new flavors of slavery onto everyone's backs.

Creative expressions and characters and struggles are necessary. Otherwise, we've got robots. Otherwise, we've got a de-humanized game. Otherwise, we got the big boot of officials (government) with justifications for interventions.

If you win the attention of the world, bring your "A Game." To the victors go the spoils, an olive wreath and a trinket of gold, silver or bronze, if you are so fortunate. Celebrate. Smile freely. Speak with the skill that equals that of the dexterity of the sports moves we all just witnessed.

Play hard. Play fair. Then, it is time to live your life fully. Speak and act as your spirit moves you.

From NZ dump - tra...

Update: The Brits change their tune. Link.

BOA says it won't censor athletes

Olympic Chiefs claim no intent to "gag" comments
Posted: Monday February 11, 2008 10:54AM; Updated: Monday February 11, 2008 11:05AM

LONDON (AP) -- The British Olympic Association has "no intention of gagging" its athletes at the Beijing Games.

A day after the BOA said it would require its athletes to sign a new clause in their contracts prohibiting them from making politically sensitive remarks or gestures during the Olympics, the association clarified its stance.

"Clearly (the instructions) had been misinterpreted and we now accept they may have been open to misinterpretation," BOA spokesman Graham Newsom said Monday. "But there is no intention of gagging anyone. We are trying to mirror what it says in the Olympic Charter."

Simon Clegg, the BOA's chief executive, acknowledged that the BOA's Team Members Agreement appeared to go beyond the provision of the Olympic Charter.

"This is not our intention nor is it our desire to restrict athletes freedom of speech and the final agreement will reflect this," Clegg said.

Newsom said no such gagging order existed. He said the organization had not tried to put a block on free speech and had been under no political pressure from the government.

"The reality is that we have historically had a very strong independent views and we are completely different from government," Newsom said. "We don't take any government funding and we make our own views."

The BOA has sent out instructions to athletes headed for Beijing that they should abide by IOC-backed regulations which state they should not comment on any politically sensitive issues or take part in political, religious or racial propaganda at the Olympic sites and venues.

Newsom said the instructions had been in place for at least 20 years and were sent out to those athletes going to their first Olympics who had not seen them before.

In January, Belgian athletes were told they would be prohibited from raising human rights or other political issues at Olympic venues. Outside the sports venues and Olympic village, however, they will be free to speak their mind.


No comments: