The USOPC Does Not Like Political Protests

Nasser was a different story.

The rebranded United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee apparently does not believe in the right of expression. The USOPC, which as the United States Olympic Committee overlooked the rumors that the USA Gymnasts team doctor Larry Nasser was sexually assaulting some of his patients. The USOC also gave a $2.4 million parting gift to the organization’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun after he resigned last February after it became known that Blackmun knew about Nasser’s behavior for some time before the Indianapolis Star broke the Nasser story. Blackmun helped cover up the Nasser sexual abuse problem so it would not be a USOC problem. In the end, the Indianapolis Star did expose Nasser’s alleged crimes and Nasser was convicted and sent to jail. Blackmun would resign and was heavily criticized for his failure to do any sort of investigation into the then Nasser allegations. The USOC gave him the severance pay and had no qualms with handing over the money.

The USOPC was embarrassed by a protest by two athletes who protested on the podium at an event in Peru. Fencer Race Imboden kneeled during the Star Spangled Banner after winning a gold medal at the Pan American Games and hammer thrower Gwen Barry raised her right fist at the conclusion of a medal ceremony. The USOPC’s head Sarah Hirshland applauded the two athlete’s decision to be “an active citizen” but then pulled the rug out from underneath them by placing them on some sort of sports probation. The Hirshland decision is a warning for American athletes who will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Be good children and don’t do silly things like protests. We had enough with Thommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The USOPC apparently is good with not investigating sexual abuse but an athlete’s protest is a problem.