Russia has been banned from most international team competitions because of the war in Ukraine, but now the ban is being extended to include individual Russian players.

U.S. Open tennis champion Daniil Medvedev will not be able to compete at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in England this coming June unless he provides “assurances” that he doesn’t support Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Ukraine war.

Jim Treacher:

Forcing loyalty oaths out of people is the sort of thing Putin does. If I don’t think it’s good when Putin does it, why would I think it’s good when it’s done to oppose him? Why are you people behaving like the guy you want to stop?…

Answering such questions requires at least half a brain, which leaves out most people who are involved in cancel culture.

Medvedev is one of the top players in the world and will display no national insignia during the tournament. Any glory he wins will fall to him and him alone — even if the war weren’t turning people into the very same creatures they are opposing.

There are other considerations for Medvedev and other lesser-known Russian players. The idea of an athlete speaking up for Putin puts his family in Russia in considerable danger.

Hot Air:

It’s easy enough for most of us to stand up and publicly denounce Putin. The KGB is unlikely to show up at our homes and drag us away in the night. But what happens to Medvedev and the rest of the Russian or Belarusian players if they do that? They still have to go back home eventually. The tournament could be giving one of its highest-ranked players a choice between skipping what is arguably the biggest tournament in his sport or signing his own death sentence.

For a current example of what we’re talking about here, look no further than what happened to tennis star Peng Shuai in her dealings with the equally repressive Chinese government. All she did was speak out against sexual assault in her sport and she conveniently “disappeared” for a while until she returned to give an obviously scripted speech about how it was all a big misunderstanding and nobody in China had ever done anything wrong.

The strength of tyrants and authoritarians is found in their ability to probe for weaknesses in their opponents and then apply pressure — usually unbearable pressure — to get them to toe the line.

It’s sickening when so-called “free” countries do the same thing.

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