Keith Olbermann opened his ESPN show last night with a scathing rant against Russia’s antigay laws and the International Olympic Committee’s response to calls for a boycott of the Winter Games in Sochi.
Olbermann’s nine-minute tirade brilliantly pointed out the ridiculousness of recent comments by President Vladimir Putin — who has tried to claim Russia’s so-called gay propaganda law is not homophobic — and asserted that the IOC’s scramble to dissuade any attempt by athletes to show support for LGBT people while in Sochi is clearly motivated by the fear of a negative financial impact on the games.
However, Olbermann’s speech didn’t stop at mocking the amount of backpedaling currently being performed by groups with a financial interest in the 2014 Olympics. He also highlighted the frightening similarities of the political climate surrounding the upcoming Winter Games regarding LGBT people and attitudes against other groups of people during the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. “The American team still deferred to Hitler. It pulled Marty Glickman, an American Jew, off the relay team,” Olbermann said of U.S. actions during the 1936 Games. “And within three years Hitler was invading Czechoslovakia while America had an official policy of neutrality and within five years Hitler was in mid genocide.”
While no action was taken against people during the 1936 Games and many people point out the teachable moment that occurred when African-American athlete Jesse Owens won gold that year, Olbermann pointed out, “Owens raced and won, and Hitler didn’t attempt genocide against African-Americans. But Marty Glickman’s relatives in Europe, or those … who were gay, or the intellectuals who publicly supported the victims of those new restrictive laws against one group of people in society? They wound up in the camps.” Watch below.