(The following is a transcript of Todd’s morning radio news commentary)
Several American athletes have used their platform to engage in political grandstanding at the Olympic Games in South Korea.
Speedskater Shani Davis did not even attend the opening ceremony after losing a coin flip to carry the US flag.
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He suggested that race might have played a role in the decision – Mr. Davis is black. Flag bearer Erin Hamlin is white.
Athletes Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy – have been relentless in their attacks on Vice President Pence — angered over his religious beliefs regarding the LGBT community.
Rippon told the Daily Mail he plans to skip a White House ceremony honoring the Olympians.
“No. I have no desire to go to the White House. But I would like to do something to help my community,” he said. “I have kind of spoken out a lot and I’d like to do something positive and not just stay at home.”
Rippon started the fight with the vice president’s office during a January interview with USA Today.
“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said. “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s OK with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s***holes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
Prior to the Olympic games, the vice president’s office reached out to Rippon, but those overtures were rebuffed. In spite of the skater’s insults, Pence offered his unwavering support.
.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 8, 2018
And during the opening ceremony Kenworthy posted a churlish Instagram message to Mr. Pence: “Eat your heart out, Pence. #TeamUSA #TeamUSGay”
Sadly, their boorish behavior speaks more to their character than the Vice President’s.
And it takes away from the spirit of the games.
So for the sake of Team USA let’s hope all three men focus on their sport and put their political grievances on ice.