Reporters Waste Everyone’s Time Asking White House About Nonsensical Olympic Boycott Idea


Lindsey Graham is the only person who wants to boycott the Olympics. (Credit: AP)

Lindsey Graham is the only person who wants to boycott the 2014 Olympics. (Credit: AP)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) wants the United States to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia if the Russians grant asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency employee who leaked info on the NSA’s surveillance of Americans and other countries last month. That Graham, a gold-medal quality defense hawk, is the only one suggesting this as a possibility should be an indication that we can all ignore it. Right?

Apparently not. Three reporters at today’s White House press briefing asked spokesman Jay Carney about a potential boycott, even as they admitted that “this is not anywhere on that level.” After the third question, and exasperated Carney could only ask if the reporters were “looking for a superficial headline” before saying that a boycott was “not…an issue right now.”

It’s the middle of July and it’s a slow time for news. I get that. But if the reporters at the White House are desperate for Olympics-related questions, here’s one for them to ask: Russia’s legislature unanimously approved a law in June that criminalizes homosexuality. So what will Obama’s White House do to protect LGBT athletes at the Sochi games?

There were at least 21 openly gay or lesbian athletes at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and a countless number of LGBT fans — which is larger by a factor of millions than the number of people who actually think the U.S. would consider boycotting the Olympics over one Edward J. Snowden. But even though the Olympics are less than a year away, the International Olympic Committee has said little about how it plans to deal with the issue (it issued its first full statement on the legislation today). So maybe we should spend less time on non-stories dreamt up by aloof senators and more figuring out how we’re going to protect people who deserve to compete in and attend the Olympics without fear of deportation or imprisonment simply because of who they choose to love when the competition ends.