This from Sports Illustrated.
The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, arguably the biggest star who is not yet on the record, managed to skirt the issue, saying he didn’t feel comfortable discussing the topic because English isn’t his primary language.
It made for a lousy dodge. After all, it doesn’t take a nuanced understanding to say “Yes, I’m in favor” or “I’m opposed.”
He did, however, offer a response when a reporter asked if he would have a problem playing with a gay teammate.
“No, no problem,” he said.
So maybe it wasn’t a dodge so much as a canny play. Malkin avoided offering an answer to the tough question that would have offended either his homeland or his adopted home, and instead threw out a bone to tolerance. It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes the playbook moving forward, at least for the Russians playing in North America.
SI’s Allan Muir thinks this is a canny dodge to avoid offending anyone?
Let’s consider this – compare the price of “offending” US residents versus “offending” Putin’s Russia. Hmmm …
That’s so beyond stupid. Hard to believe an experienced journalist wouldn’t take into consideration that Malkin has family in Russia, friends, too. His career isn’t going to suffer a bit if he’s cagey in his response at least in terms of US fans. But even his sparse comment about not caring about playing with a gay teammate potentially violates the anti-gay propaganda law in Russia.
See the trade-off?
Chasing around Russian atheletes with these types of inquiries is futile. They have nothing to prove to the US LGBTQ Community. It isn’t on them to stand up to Putin and put their friends and families at risk, not when the IOC and the International Community do not have their backs. It is up to us to stand in solidarity with the Russians.