Athletes Unite

March 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

The Scottish have always been a very forthright race, never leaving anyone in any doubt as to how they feel, and despite the politics involved with hosting a major sporting event such as the Commonwealth Games they are refusing to compromise.

Scotsman Graham Obree the former World cycling Champion has joined the calls for a ban on officials from Uganda being extended an invitation to attend the Games. This is following the government in the African nation passing anti-gay laws which are even more stringent than Russia’s. Life sentences have been introduced for “aggravated homosexuality,” this means that lesbianism is criminalised and it is also a crime to help individuals who engage in homosexual acts.

Obree has organised a petition entitled “No Hate at The Games,” which calls for a ban on Ugandan politicians who backed this bill being invited and told that they are not welcome.

Interestingly 40 Commonwealth Countries have similar policies in place and gay rights groups are planning demonstrations before and during the games. There have also been calls for gay athletes from any of these countries to be offered asylum.

As much as the former and present athletes may protest the Scottish Government is treading cautiously releasing a statement to say there will be no ban and that all visitors are welcome.

There are many that say that sport and politics should never mix, but it is pleasing to see athletes make a stand for fellow competitors who may suffer persecution in their own countries. Sport has come a long way since the actions of Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968, two men who made an unpopular stand and a great sacrifice to right the wrongs being done to black Americans. However winning a medal at the games may prove a far easy battle to win than changing the minds of governments.

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