In the silence, Olympic sponsors face a real credibility problem. As a first matter, silence on this issue flies in the face of the very reason companies were so enthusiastic when Beijing won the bid for the Olympics. Bringing the games to Beijing will open up China, they said, and will bring China into the global community.
Sponsors’ silence about genocide could lead cynics to think that the “openness” being referenced was for commercial purposes only–to put Cokes, Happy Meals and Visa cards into the hands of the 1.3 billion Chinese citizens, rather than any notion of concern about what rights the Chinese people have, or how their government treats other vulnerable populations around the world.
Also troubling on the credibility front: By remaining silent, Olympic corporate sponsors are refusing to uphold the very ideals they are paying so much money to associate with–values such as peace and international cooperation. If Olympic corporate sponsors are going to receive the benefits of association with Olympic values through million-dollar marketing efforts, they are also, it should follow, obligated to uphold and advance those Olympic values. Working to end a genocide is entirely consistent with Olympics values. Silence in the face of such barbarity is not.
The article does not blame the sponsors, it admits the fault for the ongoing problems in Darfur are as much due to the failure of the United Nations, and a failure of the U.S., British and French governments to do any real persuading in the case, but it does bring up a good point, as most of the sponsors have the choice to choose what is right, what is right and socially responsible, or what might be profitable.