After not winning a lot of friends in the Diversity Community during the Winter Olympics for its limp noodle response concerning homophobia and brutality against Russia’s LGBT citizens, the International Olympic Committee has once again shown that it does not matter how much gold gets stashed in their bank account you don’t get much “bang for your buck.” It’s sort of like feeding an elephant beans and getting a flea fart. The president of the Russian Tennis Federation—Shamil Tarpischev—called the Williams sisters the “Williams brothers,” and stated: “It’s frightening when you look at them.” Serena accused him of being both racist and sexist, saying” I thought they [his comments] were in a way bullying.”
Tarpischev was fined $25,000 by the Women’s Tennis Association tour and suspended for a year. I loved the response by the U.S. Tennis Association president, Dave Haggerty. He stated: “As the president of the Russian Tennis Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Tarpischev is expected to conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, his comments do not embody either of these traits and in fact were reprehensible.”
This year Tarpischev was appointed to the International Olympic Committee’s Entourage Commission, and charged with dealing with any and all issues concerning the relationship between athletes, coaches, managers, sponsors and all other stakeholders that support athletes. What was the IOC’s response? Gosh, they didn’t do anything! They released a statement saying they’d contact Tarpischev for clarification on his statement before they bother acting. I think I smell a flea fart.
“Ty’s Take” is a weekly editorial about important events in the LGBT sporting community. The views expressed are the writer’s own.