In a interview during Team Canada's Olympic camp, Sidney Crosby let his stance on Russia's 'Gay Propaganda Law' be known. He said, "For me growing up in Canada, my view has always been that way. I think that everyone has an equal right to play and I think we've been supportive of that. With the Olympics and the controversy around that I think those decisions and those laws aren't necessarily something that I agree with personally … their laws and their views."
The former Soviet Union has been under fire lately for their restrictions on homosexual propaganda and pro-gay demonstrations. The law, designed to shield minors from homosexual media, has been blasted by western lawmakers and LGBT supporters. Violations include fines of 50,000 rubles (around $1,500 dollars) for individuals, one million rubles ($30,000 dollars) for organization, and foreigners breaking the law are automatically deported.
The last penalty brought the 2014 Sochi Olympics into the argument. After dozens of protests and international pressure, Russia agreed to suspense the law for participating athletes. Igor Ananskikh, the head of the Russian Duma Committee on physical training, sports and youth (whew, that's in need of some brevity) said, “The Olympics is a major international event. Our task is to be as politically correct and tolerant as we can be. That’s why we made the decision not to raise this issue during the Games."
But Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said, "No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable."
Now back to Crosby. Sid the Kid's (albeit vague) criticism of the law is in stride with the NHL's message of tolerance and acceptance. Teammate Brooks Orpik has appeared in the television spots for the league's 'If You Can Play, You Can Play' campaign. One of the important things about Crosby's statement is that he didn't dodge a controversial question. He could've said the basic jock answer, "I'm not getting into something like that because I'm just concentrating on having a good practice and doing well in the Games" or the classic, "No comment".
Instead, Crosby spoke his mind. He didn't do it on Twitter or through a spokesman. He did it in front of a microphone that had people on the other side. That's commendable. Today's athletes are slammed for having opinions and then slammed even harder for not sharing them. Guaranteed there is an article out there blasting Crosby for doing the same thing this article is praising him for. Crosby did the right thing here. Even if you're not on his side of this argument, you have to applaud him publicly sharing his. It shows he has the leadership the Penguins and the NHL need him to have. Hopefully, Crosby is not scared off from doing more of this in the future.
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