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UK Iron Curtain? Sports Minister Pushes Fascist Plan to Crack Down on Russians

  At least one of the world’s top tennis players might be forced to denounce his country’s president in order to compete in the Wimbledon Ch...

 At least one of the world’s top tennis players might be forced to denounce his country’s president in order to compete in the Wimbledon Championships this summer.

According to Fox News, British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said Tuesday that athletes would have to agree not to represent Russia at Wimbledon.

“Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled,” Huddleston said.

This follows an announcement from tennis’ governing body that the Russian flag would be banned. At the Indian Wells Open this week, Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev was forced to compete under a neutral flag, Yahoo Sports reported.

There are arguments both for and against this regulation.

On the one hand, it could be considered unfair to forbid athletes from representing their country. After all, competing under a Russian flag is not the same as condoning the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

On the other hand, it makes sense that Wimbledon would not want to promote anything relating to Russia as that country is invading Ukraine. In light of recent events, it is not completely unreasonable to ask athletes to compete under a neutral flag. 

However, Huddleston did not stop there. He said in addition to banning anything that could signal support for Russia, he was considering asking athletes to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I think we need to have some assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin, and we are considering what requirements we may need to get assurances along those lines,” Huddleston said, according to Fox News.

Before Monday, Medvedev was the top-ranked tennis player in the world. He told Yahoo he wanted to compete independent of his country’s politics, but he admitted it was hard to be barred from representing his country on the court.

“I want to promote my sport, promote it in my country for sure also,” the 26-year-old said. “Right now, the situation is this is the only way we can play so that’s what I’m going to do. I will try to fight on the court and try to win the tournaments and try to beat the other guys.”

Medvedev suffered an upset loss on Monday that cost him his No. 1 world ranking. His bad week continued Tuesday with Huddleston’s comments and the possibility he could be forced to publicly denounce Putin. 

Since any reasonable person should agree that what Putin is doing to Ukraine is wrong, it would be easy to miss the slippery slope such a requirement could set off — in addition to the fact that it could imperil the athlete’s family and friends in Russia.

Even though Putin is in the wrong in this case, does the U.K. really want to set a precedent where athletes must agree with a certain political view in order to compete?


Right now the requirement would be to denounce Putin, but that is not a huge step away from forcing athletes to denounce any candidate with whom the sports minister doesn’t agree. If this precedent is set, what is to stop Huddleston from forcing athletes to denounce conservative politicians in the future?

Furthermore, this path could go far beyond the realm of sports and politics. Tennis is Medvedev’s occupation, and he could be forced to support a certain political view in order to compete. 

Imagine if this happened in other spheres. If the sports minister can require political statements from athletes, could businesses then require their employees to take specific positions before they are allowed to work?

This idea might start with a ruthless leader like Putin, but it almost certainly would not end there. Using the same logic, a business could compel employees to denounce a religion like Christianity in order to perform their occupations.

Forcing people to take a political stance before they can participate in unrelated activities is an inherently fascist idea. Denouncing Putin might be something on which almost everyone can agree, but every conservative should understand the consequences of such a requirement.

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