The world’s number one tennis player, Daniil Medvedev, is facing a ban from the Wimbledon tournament in London, unless he denounces Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
The British government has put forth a cartoonishly evil demand for all Russian and Belarusian players participating in professional sports to go in front of cameras and tell the world that they oppose Putin. Should they fail to do so, the professional athletes will not be allowed to compete.
According to British Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston, it will not be enough for athletes who merely avoid flying the flag, wearing the colours, or simply staying silent on their support for Russia and Belarus.
The demand for Russian and Belarusian athletes is distinct to the two countries, and there are absolutely no policies in place demanding that North Korean and Iranian players denounce Kim Jong Un or Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Many countries have agreed that they will not allow representatives from Russia to compete,” the minister said. “There are also visa issues as well. When it comes to individuals, that is more complex.”
“Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled,” Huddleston stated, implying that it might now be illegal to be Russian in the United Kingdom.
“We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to try and get some assurances along those lines,” he added.
No such prohibitions exist for North Korea, Afghanistan, or any other country currently mired in human rights controversies.
The sport minister said that it’s his government’s desire for the whole world to achieve an anti-Russian consensus, the Times reported.
“It would be better if we can decide on some broad global consensus on this,” Huddleston said.
The minister did not offer any assurances whether Medvedev or any other athletes would be protected from repercussions in their homeland should they publicly denounce their leaders.
When previously asked by the press for comment on Ukraine, Medvedev avoided criticizing Putin, and said simply that “my message is always the same — I want peace in all of the world.”
The World Tennis Association said it does not agree with a potential ban on Russian players, WTA head Steve Simon said, I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from participating on our tour as the result of political positions their leadership may take, so it would take something very significant for that to change, but again we don’t know where this is going.”
“I feel very strongly that these individual athletes should not be the ones that are being penalized by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible, reprehensible things,” Simon added.
As previously reported by Rebel News, the world’s number two tennis player, Novak Djokovic, was banned from participating in international tournaments, starting in Australia because he refused to get vaccinated.
Since losing interest in the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and its crusade against “anti-vaxxers,” the media has now found a new target: Russians.
Efforts to marginalize Russians have only worsened in recent weeks, with many global corporations based in the United States and Europe cutting off access to their products and services to Russians. Russians living abroad continue to face discrimination on account of their nationality.