Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Sep 30, 2013.
Im liking Ashley more and more these days!
A big round of applause to Ashley Wagner for showing some courage and integrity!
A very big round of boos to everybody else, especially Davis/White and their 'semantics' argument as well as 'Olympics are not the right place to make a political statement.' Unless that statement is 'USA! USA! USA!,' being photographed next to the US flag or singing the national anthem while standing on the podium. Those statements aren't political in the slightest.
My Post from 08/27
Ashley Wagner's Response from the Chicago Tribune article:
I just had to.
Getting lambasted is a part of life.
Seriously? There are tons of young adults in their early 20's who do speak out against discrimination and bullying. They are the leaders of tomorrow and they should be encouraged to make a difference. As for Evan and Jeremy, they are not kids, they are adults, who are old enough to vote, be drafted and get elected to public office in certain places.
I absolutely applaud Wagner for her comments and think she expressed her view perfectly.
Equally though I can't really get that excited about Zawadski's response. Don't we all pick and choose which causes we support and which ones we will put ourselves on the line for? If these anti gay laws are not things she particularly cares about - so what? There's plenty of things out there that I take issue with and do something about, and there's plenty of important things out there where i would equally not be interested in making a difference and keep my head down and do my job. It doesn't always have to be about making a difference.
Like I said earlier, I get that people pick and choose what they care about and not everyone wants to be an activist in any capacity. Even if one were to agree with the laws, then they have a right to do so (not saying she's one of those people at all). However, because my own personal views, background, the type of work that I do, I can't help but seriously dislike Agnes's comment. It's based off of my own biases and perspective on life.
All that said, I don't think anyone expects skaters to be actively crusading on behalf of gay rights. However, there's a difference between asking someone to actively work for a cause or "make a difference" and expecting people to not say something that really minimizes this issue.
All she said was that she's not there to make a difference. I really don't take issue with that, and I don't think it minimises the issue but like you said, we all come at these things with our own biases :shrug:
I guess maybe I've just been focused on the U.S. skaters but I haven't seen what skaters from other countries are saying about the laws and the Olympics. Have I missed the posts on this?
Like BlueRidge, I'd also be interested to hear what skaters from other countries are saying.
I haven't really seen anyone from another country be questioned about the law and I guess no one has decided to take the initiative to issue a statement on their own. I think it might be that the USFS is the only federation that seems to be organizing those big press conferences to promote the Olympics, so their athletes are getting asked more. It will be interesting once the Russians start getting asked about it. I believe Plushy was campaigning against it earlier (before it was passed, I guess), but I haven't heard anything recently, and at this point I suppose it could be against the law to speak out against it.
Recap commentary piece from the USOC Olympic media summit: http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_...answers-russian-anti-gay-law-olympic-hopefuls
I'm not sure that I "get" why those who are choosing to not make an individualized strong statement are getting almost put on a "list" like they are somehow betraying their obligations as Olympians, by people like Phil Hersh.
It is obviously an important and high profile issue, but to expect every athlete to have an opinion that is based on enough conviction seems unrealistic to me. Ashley Wagner made clear that she has several personal reasons, including gay family members, that drive her feelings. Her feelings on this topic are thus likely to have been long formulated and thought out, making her taking a stance, logical and with substance.
For those who this has not been as key an issue in their lives, putting them in some sort of penalty box for not speaking out individually, would just seem false.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the people who made some sort of "no comment" response hasn't been criticized to the degree as those who sort of go beyond that.
The Russian athletes are in a special situation no others are.
But I do wonder why there isn't more discussion of skaters from other countries and why they are not speaking out? People are jumping on Agnes Z and others for comments they've made, but what about all the athletes that aren't saying anything at all? That's just fine? Why aren't gay rights groups in other countries pushing more on this--for their national federations or Olympic committees?
Good point. It's not like Agnes took it upon herself to tweet that she didn't want to give involved in the political part of it. She was at a press conference, arranged to hype the prospective US Olympic team, and everyone got asked (frankly, I think it's a little early to be hyping the team, since a number of these skaters might not even make the team, including Agnes... ). The skaters from other countries (and US skaters who don't get invited to media events) have essentially done the same thing without saying "I'm not getting involved." If you rounded up a panel of skaters from Japan, Canada, or France, they could get themselves into hot water too. I don't care for what Agnes said but I don't know that she should be singled out for saying something slightly different than "I'm letting the USOC speak for me."
Exactly. The minimum age to hold a seat in the House of Representatives is 25. They are not in any way "kids". Gracie is. The others are not.
Patrick was asked by the Canadian media (in short--he does not support discrimination but don't expect him to play the role of politician in Sochi). There's a thread about it somewhere (which I refuse to read). Other Canadian Olympians have been interviewed. Some have attended gay pride parades throughout the country.
But I was surprised journalists didn't ask questions to the Canadian skaters at their annual get-together in September (I think Patrick was asked in a separate setting). At the very least, I don't recall any articles about what other Canadian skaters said at that time.
I remember really disliking what Chan said, but like Agnes's statement, it wasn't unexpected as they are essentially saying they are only worrying about their own path to the Olympics. Like I said, it's understandable, but I personally don't like it (for a great number of reasons, but one being that people are still only seeing this as a "gay" issue and if it was surrounding a law that persecuted other types of people, people would be much more willing to decry it). I may be wrong though. I'm sure there were athletes that would have ignored laws that persecuted people based on race since they are only worried about qualifying and competing at the Olympics. We also have people bring up other types of abuses that get ignored, which is also a fair criticism but doesn't take anything away from the issue.
Regarding criticizing skaters for speaking out one way or the other, I don't see anything wrong with that since they are doing a public event and are pretty much public figures now. I know many others disagree with me, however.
I don't want this to be all about Chan, but his comments were different from Agnes' in that he did express his own general opinions about gay rights and discrimination.
I don't have a problem with people criticizing the statements of the skaters, just so long as they don't start making it seem like the skaters are responsible for the law itself. That is to say, I think it needs to be kept in perspective.
Very true, and should be repeated. I guess my problem is that I see indifference as thinking that the issue is unimportant. I shouldn't confuse that with someone being complicit. What makes the trap easier is that unlike those who are responsible for the law or the USOC and USFS, the skaters are seemingly much more personable and available for direct communication.
The skaters are available for direct communication on the issue because questions about it are asked when they would usually be discussing their programs, training and other aspects to the run-up to the Olympics. The media summit is at least the third time many of the skaters have been asked to address the law. Most of the skaters aren't saying anything they didn't say at Champs Camp, or the US Figure Skating Classic. If they are asked again at Skate America and nationals they will likely repeat themselves, again. Questions (and calls for action) to the leaders of the IOC, USOC and perhaps US political figures would be more fruitful, IMO.
US political figures? Those clowns can't even keep the government running.
It's not about measuring how productive it is. People are just naturally reacting to something they don't like.
I guess I choose to focus on Ashley, not those who don't offer an opinion on the subject or who don't speak out. It seems to take attention away from the important issues when the focus shifts to criticizing comments made by athletes that are basically not commenting and/or not taking a stand on the issue.
Thank you, Peter G.
We should all be as brave and as fearless as Ashley has found it in her heart and spirit to be on this issue. But all those criticizing the other athletes, walk in their shoes first, review your own history of standing up and speaking out on a controversial topic, particularly as a young person still growing up in the world. Ash deserves kudos, but the other skaters do not deserve scorn.
Yes, but not everyone is a leader. These athletes are already under an inordinate amount of pressure - to expect them to champion a particular cause may be asking too much.
Many of these skaters are "kids" in the sense that many of them have led very sheltered lives with a very singular focus. It varies by skater, of course, but many of them still have much of their life details like living arrangements, meals, transportation, laundry, etc. attended to by either a parent or coach, to allow them to fully focus on training. Heck, even outside of skating, everyone matures at a different rate, and while there are many fully engaged and participating 25 year olds who are responsible adults, there are probably just as many still living at home with mom and dad with little idea of how to manage a budget, cook a meal or possibly even do laundry, much less any in depth knowledge or awareness of world affairs. So I agree with Peter.
Bravo and much applause! Way to go, Ashley!
The mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato turned down a gig in Russia, but even she had doubts about it:
("The New Yorker," October 7, 2013, profile by Alex Ross)
I'm sure the Moscow slot in DiDonato's schedule could have been re-booked in an instant, and she is not someone who spent her entire life working towards a goal whose pinnacle is an Olympic Games in Russia. However, it does show that a 44-year-old media savvy person in the limelight had her own doubts about the right way to go and didn't think it was all that simple. Why should it be simple for the skaters?
This doesn't surprise me at all.
Out of all the US ladies, Ashley seems the most down to earth and genuine.
No fake smiles for my girl Ashley! Tell em'! Go Wagner 2014!!!