Thursday, May 15, 2008

BloggersUnite Day: Human Rights

Carolyn at And One brought it to my attention that BlogCatalog is asking bloggers to unite today for human rights. Go check out her post with a bunch of links to human rights organizations on the web, including the NBA's organization NBA Cares.

Bloggers Unite

Thinking about the place that sports has in the ongoing conversation about human rights, the focus of late as I see it has been on the upcoming Olympic games in China.

Sean Gregory wrote a great piece earlier this month for Time Magazine on the viability of Olympic athletes as ambassadors speaking out against China's human rights violations. He asks the question: Why shouldn't the American team leave the whole "we're just athletes" excuse at home?

Indeed, some U.S. Olympic team members feel it is not their place to voice their opinion for lack of being well-informed on the issues. Women's U.S. Soccer Abby Wambach player told Gregory:

That a lot of responsibility, to ask an athlete to not only represent your country and perform and try to win a gold medal, and to have a political view.

Conversely, 1968 Olympic track & field bronze-medalist John Carlos, whose black power salute from the medal podium is one of if not the most famous political image in Olympic game history, told Gregory:

All young individuals should be aware of the situation, the circumstances in which they a becoming involved in...It's something they have to study, and become well-versed in. It's an obligation.

(John Carlos, right)

As interesting as the athletes' reactions to the social controversy is that of the big name brands associated with this year's games, many of whom have been planning their 2008 Olympic marketing and sponsorship initiatives as long as the competitors have been training for the events.

In an article in yesterday's Boston Globe, Reebok announced they are dropping plans for a hospitality facility to host athletes, guests and media in Beijing, citing the human rights controversy as one of the reasons.

Among the activities Reebok planned to conduct at these facilities were media interviews with the 250 athletes the brand is outfitting for the games. Josie Stevens, Reebok's Director of Global Public Relations, said:

As a brand, we didn't want to put our athletes in the position when being interviewed of having to explain their personal views on the human rights issue, and we didn't want to act as a censor either.

Reebok plans to distribute canned interviews with their athletes through a video news service instead.

Check out some other articles on the Olympics human rights debate here:

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1 comment:

KL said...

To you youngsters of the West:

Stop those nonsense bs. You people eat too well, drink too much, use drugs & oversex.

Why don't you do something more produtive:

[1] Stop your greedy mongers from going to China to milk those poor laborers. Ask them if they paid Chinese workers any fringe benefit such as retirement bene, med/life/disability insurance & others as they did to workers in the West!? If not, they are in violation of human rights! They are the one you people should go after, hang them!!

[2] Stop enjoying your good life by buying all kind of inexpensive goods made by workers being milked & cheated by you people! &

[3] Ask USA & its puppet nations not to take PRC's US$1.5 trillion cash deposits in order to start your wars here & there nonstop in the name of some BS causes!

NOW, you want to talk about human rights? Let's talk! Who is in more violation of human rights after all???!

A Yankee in Asia