Commentary: It’s time to talk about boycotting the 2022 Winter Olympics

Jan 19, 2020; Lausanne, SWITZERLAND; Mark Hafnar SLO jumping over the Olympic Rings in the snow during the Ski Jumping Men's Individual Competition 1st Round at the Les Tuffes Nordic Centre. The Winter Youth Olympic Games. Mandatory Credit: Bob Martin/OIS Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Is there a carmaker with bigger truck nuts than Škoda Auto right now?

The Czech manufacturer of fine motors took a principled stand against injustice recently when it threatened to pull its title sponsorship of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship summer tournament unless Belarus was removed as a host.

 

Belarus, if you didn’t know, has been in turmoil since August when authoritarian dictator Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of an election that countries around the world denounced as rigged and unfair.

For the IIHF, it wasn’t the sham vote, or the five months of civic unrest at the decision, or the disappearances and arrests of political rivals, or even the leaked audio of a cabinet member  threatening to “maim, or mutilate, or kill” protestors and put them in camps that forced a possible event relocation.

It was the threat of losing sweet, sweet cash money that brought about the IIHF’s compliance. The governing body soon announced that Belarus was out, citing “safety and security issues” and not human rights or simply the morality of not lining the pockets of corrupt nations, before slinking back into the darkness.

You don’t often see that kind of integrity from a company, particularly without pressure from consumers. So Škoda certainly deserves a lot of credit.

Now it’s time for sponsors—AND FANS—to take the same stand against China and the 2022 Winter Olympics.

It’s time to boycott America’s participation in the Beijing games while there’s still time. I’m talking a complete shutdown, one supported by the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Hockey, the NHL, the NHLPA, and every tertiary organization and company involved.

Yes, I know. We all want to see the world’s best hockey players on the ice representing their countries in the sport’s top international tournament. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of overlooking the evil being committed in the People’s Republic of China.

China is actively committing genocide against the Uighur population. Right now as you’re reading this, the country is systematically eliminating an ethnic group using forced sterilization, re-education camps, torture, and indoctrination.

And that’s just the tip of China’s human rights abuses iceberg, but it is enough.

Remember The Holocaust?

In 1936, Adolf Hitler’s Germany played host to the Summer Olympics and the United States had an opportunity to take a stand against fascism and hatred. America failed. Three years later, the world was thrust into World War II, fighting the very people they had decided to compete with in those ‘friendly’ sporting activities.

Let’s not repeat that same mistake. Let’s not reward a nation that treats citizens and humans this way with lucrative contracts, publicity, tourism, and clout. Let’s not let them get away with it.

Vow to not watch. Petition to not go. Pledge to not buy.

Organizations like NBC, the NHL, Coca Cola, the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Hockey, and more have a responsibility to not idly stand by while atrocities are being committed in China.

So do we.

Speak to your representatives. Speak with your wallets. Speak with your conscience.

Don’t just shrug it off. Be like Škoda.

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