Holding America accountable

Story by Collin Morris, Assistant Sports Editor

 

When juxtaposed, sports and politics have a sense of congruency.

Both commonly involve two teams competing for superiority; both necessitate support of the masses to thrive and succeed. However, in the political arena, these teams do not just need their supporters to stand idle, cheering from the sidelines.

It is vital for America’s constituency to engage and hold its “team” (and opponents) responsible. It is the duty of a responsible American citizen to be informed and prepared to challenge elected officials for their actions, whether it be with phone calls, protests, social media posts or their own grassroots campaign.

Generally speaking, many Americans have been active in the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency. With the record-breaking Women’s March as just one example, unrest from various wings of the American electorate is palpable. And while some would say others have been too swift to contradict, the Trump Administration continues to raise new issues.

Most recently, Trump has sparked controversy with his self-proclaimed “ban” on immigration from Muslim-majority countries.

“The order also stops the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars entry into the United States for 90 days from seven predominantly Muslim countries linked to concerns about terrorism. Those countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen,” according to the New York Times.

And while this issue raises many questions, from constitutionality to morality, it also has relevance to the world of sports. America is currently participating in the Candidature Process for the 2024 Olympics, with Los Angeles as one possible host city.

With athletes competing in the Olympic Games and (presumably) hundreds of them identifying as Muslims, Olympic athletes would be asked to perform in a country openly discriminating against their personal religious beliefs, were America to be elected. Hundreds of athletes would be asked to travel to a country they would otherwise would be banned, as all seven countries currently barred from the U.S. are recognized as having a chapter of the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

The 2024 Olympics will arrive well after the end of President Trump’s first term, and quite possibly during the term of his successor, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will hold its vote on the next host city September 2017, less than a year into his current term. The issue of the ongoing religious discrimination will most certainly be on the minds of those officials, and rightfully so.

On the domestic front, a similar circumstance unfolded in North Carolina when their state legislator infamously passed the “bathroom bill,” aimed at preventing transgender Americans from using their preferred restrooms.

As a result, the state of North Carolina saw economic backlash, including the loss of its rights to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, which was consequently relocated to New Orleans.

In a statement released by the NBA, they addressed their decision saying, “While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”

It is a right and duty of every American citizen to bare an informed opinion, but as human beings, we should simultaneously promote equality, prosperity and acceptance; discriminatory, bigoted laws have no bearing in civilized society today. Race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and the like are not determining factors in the treatment of others, and society should continue its fight against these injustices. Los Angeles should not host the 2024 Olympics, and that decision should be a message to our president.