I'm very sad to write this because I'm one of millions of people who LOVE the Olympics, a time when the world comes together in peace to support athletic excellence, yet this year my television set will be off or at least not on NBC from the minute it begins to the minute it ends.
Why does this matter you ask? Well, as with any sporting event there is a great deal of commerce involved, companies pay huge premiums to sponsor this event, the host country gets to dust off and shine up their country and show the world how "great" they are and all our collective eyeballs count as a success story for a very corrupt system that can award this event to a country like Russia and to a tyrant like Putin.
As of tonight by all accounts the preparations for the Olympics are a complete unsafe disaster in the making. On the basic logistics like lodging and clean running water at hotels. they are an epic failure.
Heightened terrorist alerts and travel precautions put out by the State Department fill me with dread. And the lack of safety extends to some of the venues too. forcing American Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White to back out of one event possibly due to safety concerns.
As a gay activist, I was vocal against Russia's draconian anti gay laws that prohibit any exhibition of LGBT support (like wearing a pride TV shirt for example), prompting skin head radicals to beat gay people on the streets and kidnap gay teenagers, that alone was grounds to move the games, but they didn't.
And if that was not horrid enough, tonight we find out that thousands of homeless dogs in the Sochi area are being rounded up to be euthanized since they are a "public nuisance" and an "embarrassment" to the country. This literally made me sick to my stomach -- you can judge a lot about a person (or a country) by the way they treat their most vulnerable. For if there is one rabid dog in Sochi his name is Putin.
So, we have terrorist threats, unsafe conditions, human rights abuses and dead puppies, why in the world would I want to support NBC or Coca Cola or McDonald's? Or the nameless IOC officials who HAD to be bought off in order to award this mess of a country the highest honor of hosting the Olympic games.
Trust me there is no bigger self-inflicted wound than denying myself (a gay man) the figure skating competition or the sight of Billy Jean King (brilliantly appointed by Obama to be in the U.S. delegation) marching into that stadium, strong and proud, but I will not watch.
I want to wish our athletes the best and a safe return home and I want them to know that as proud American nothing will bring me greater pleasure than to see them kick the shit out of the Russian team, but I cannot in good conscious tune in and support the powers that are sponsoring this event and in effect condoning Russia and Putin's regime. I will watch clips on other news outlets but I will not give NBC or it's affiliates my ratings point and I ask you as an American to do the same.
Our athletes and our future athletes deserve better than this. Send a message with your clicker, just turn it off!