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Kremlin Cup No no
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RJD11 Offline
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Kremlin Cup No no
Werthiem's Mailbag

Todd Bird of Louisville is sending the following letter to the WTA. Agree or disagree, it's worth a read:

Dear Ms. Allaster,

In light of the recent laws passed and subsequent atrocities being perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Russia, I call upon the WTA and you as their CEO to take a stand and pull the sanctioning for the Kremlin Cup scheduled for October in Moscow.

The WTA bills itself as a global leader in professional sports and this is their chance to put their money where their mouth is, or more importantly, to take the money away and put the spotlight even brighter on the oppression of LGBT people by the Russian government. As an organization that has consistently been the pioneer for equality in sports world-wide, the WTA needs to stand up for the people who are demoralized, tormented, and silenced by fear of retribution. As the Winter Olympics approach, more attention is being focused on this issue, but it is becoming painfully obvious that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is more interested in quashing the noise and buying into the rhetoric of the Russian government that LGBT athletes and fans of the Sochi Olympics will be "safe" so long as they keep quiet and don't cause a stir. But that is not enough. It appears they only want to ensure there will be no disruptions or stains on their signature event. The IOC (and so far the Olympic committees from other countries) does not appear to want to get their hands dirty with this issue. They may be condemning the law with their words, but turning a blind eye with their actions. And even if the words of the Russian government are true and no LGBT athletes or fans are in danger "that is only for two weeks." What about the other 50 weeks of the year? What about the rest of the country?

As the WTA heads to Moscow, what assurances do the players and fans have that they will not face fines, discrimination and persecution? As of today, there may not be an openly LGBT star on tour, but if Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, or Amelie Mauresmo were still playing, would the WTA feel comfortable sending them to the Kremlin Cup? Would the WTA ask Billie Jean to show up play and just keep her mouth shut? As a gay man and lifelong fan of women's tennis, I would not feel comfortable watching or supporting the event knowing what is happening to LGBT people throughout Russia. Why not move the event to a country that respects everyone's rights? While this may not rectify the problem, it will certainly bring additional media attention and hopefully action by tour sponsors. Most importantly, it shows the LGBT people of Russia and around the world that someone hears their voice and will help champion their cause.

Be the global leader you profess to be. Take the right stance for human rights for human dignity. Show the world that this type of discrimination and oppression is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. Be the pioneer the WTA has always been and set the example for the IOC. Cause a stir!


Todd Bird

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14-Aug-2013 10:59 PM
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Moxie629 (08-15-2013), tented (08-15-2013)
tented Offline
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RE: Kremlin Cup No no
Thank you for bringing this to our attention, RJD11. It's a great letter, addressing a serious issue. I hope Mr. Bird's letter has an impact on the WTA.

I'm not sure what, if anything, people like Billie Jean King, Navratilova, and Mauresmo have already said to the WTA, but I hope pressure builds, and the decision is made to move the tournament out of Russia.

It also makes me wonder if anyone has contacted the ATP, since the men's tournament has two events which take place in Russia: the St. Petersburg Open, as well as their version of the Kremlin Cup.

Whether or not there are out athletes in the ATP or the WTA is irrelevant. It's a matter of doing the right thing.

I'm anxious to see what the IOC ends up doing, but so far they've done nothing to make me think they will eventually do anything meaningful.
15-Aug-2013 06:47 AM
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Moxie629 Offline
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RE: Kremlin Cup No no
Did you hear about the US runner who won a medal at the world champions ships there and dedicated it to his LGBT friends, and act this article calls the first open defiance of the new law by a foreign athlete. There is a lot of talk out there about athletes boycotting various events in Russia. Seems the sports community is taking it somewhat seriously.
15-Aug-2013 06:17 PM
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