O.C. Register: The Olympics is the world’s biggest stage for athletes. It also can be for politics as well.
Yet several members of Team USA said they will try to keep the two separate when they arrive in Beijing, where China’s policy on human rights is expected to play a prominent role.
“We’re coming to play basketball,” LeBron James said.
Staying mum on the issue of China’s crackdown on Tibet and its continued economic support of Sudan, where thousands of people have been killed in the Darfur region, will be difficult considering they figure to be among the most heavily publicized athletes at the Games.
NBA commissioner David Stern, though, has encouraged the team to speak out if they want. Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball, agreed.
“I say ‘Be your own person,'” Colangelo said. “One might say ‘Well, I’m here to play basketball and the Olympics are about sport. The Olympics are about bringing countries together.’ But if you’re heart is telling you to say something different than that then be your own person.