Quick addendum via a tweet from Emma Stone of Team Darfur –
China denied Joey Cheeks Visa.
Well is anyone surprised. China, yup Joey of all people who has never suggested boycotting the games but refuses to be silent.
More to come it’s still pretty new.
Recently Yobachi, of Blackperspective.net and the Afrosphere Action Coalition, held a conference call with Team Darfur co-founder and Olympic gold medalist Joey Cheek.
The podcast is here
Unfortunately this wordpress does not except code from only a couple of sites so I can’t embed it but go take a listen.
WAPO article Outspoken ’06 Medalist Cheek Has Visa Revoked
Cheek had planned to attend the Games, which officially open on Friday, to support the more than 70 Olympians from around the world who have signed on to support Team Darfur.
USA Team National Director Jerry Colangelo told USA team players in a June team meeting that “he believes that the Olympics shouldn’t be used as a political platform”according to ESPN’s Shelley Smith in this Outside the Lines report. And judging from these before-and-after June meeting statements by NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Lebron James on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, the message has been clearly received.
Kobe in May Public Service Announcement:“We have the power to unite people. If we can unite people who are willing to take a stand, miracles could happen. What do you stand for? In Darfur hundreds of thousands have been murdered, mutilated, families torn apart. Please take a stand with us. We have the power to save lives.”
Kobe after June Meeting: “Our focus is to play basketball. That’s what we’re there for. That’s what we do best. We’re not politicians or government officials.”
Lebron in May: “At the end of the day you are talking about human rights. People should understand that human rights and people’s lives are in jeopardy. We’re not talking about contracts here, we are not talking about money, we are talking about people’s lives being lost. That means a lot more to me than some money or contract…”
Lebron after June Meeting: “We want to keep basketball and politics separate… We are focused on getting a gold medal and not focused on politics…” Lebron later adds: “that situation will be taken care of and whatever happens, happens.”
Whatever happened to “human rights”, “people willing to take a stand”, and “the power to save lives”. A meeting with Jerry Colangelo is what happened. And quite possibly some marching orders from David Stern and pressures from Olympic sponsors happened. Either way, since that meeting the word “genocide” has been reduced to “politics”, Kobe and Lebron have been lobotomized, and the rest of Team USA have suddenly transformed into the Stepford Wives Club. Judge for yourself:
I give them credit for trying, but who are we kidding here. It’s all about the sponsors, the individual athletes sponsors, and the Olympic sponsors.The Olympics is nothing but politics, and a majority of our
our athletes are hardly gifted amateurs finally getting their chance. They are already highly paid and well sponsored up professionals. They’ve made their choice, show me the money wins. This is not about leaving politics out of the Olympics, it is about leaving the money in the pockets of the athletes.
I don’t see the Olympics as some huge honorable event which takes place every four years, it hasn’t been that for some time, as much as a huge marketing campaign where the winner is the host city (at least theoretically), it’s surrounds , and the athletes who win a gold and ad a few sponsors to their belts on the way out.