Frank Deford’s comments to me on Russian Olympics and gays

Frank is America’s most honored sportswriter and commentator…..former Senior Editor of Sports Illustrated, author of 14 books (including 5 strides on the Banked Track), writer of two films, on NPR radio and HBO Real Sports, and a great friend.

I told him of the concern many of our people have concerning the treatment of gays in Russia and possible problems in the upcoming winter Olympics.  Frank is quite an authority on the Olympics, having been the only sportswriter to have interviewed former head of the Olympics Juan Antonio Samaranch for Sports Illustrated.  Following is his response:

“Whatever they do, please don’t talk of boycott.  All that did in 1980 was hurt the athletes.  Any other action is better.

I doubt very seriously whether the Russians will change their laws to accommodate what other countries believe, but I’m sure if there is enough hue and cry you can be certain that no anti-gay activity will be present at the Games.  So wearing rainbow pins, etc. at the time will surely be grudgingly accepted by the Russians.

I think the best way for Americans to supply that pressure is to let NBC and its most prominent Olympic Sponsors know how we feel.  It is NBC in particular which can wield a strong hand.  Let the Olympic network know what we think of its host Olympic partner.”


If you agree, please share and apply the necessary pressure.