Ban shouldn’t affect incoming athletes
DENVER (AP) — The U.S. government has told the U.S. Olympic Committee that the travel ban put in place over the weekend shouldn’t impact athletes traveling to the United States for international events.
In a statement Monday, USOC leaders said the government told them it would work to ensure athletes from all countries would have expedited access to the United States for international competitions.
A World Cup archery event is scheduled for Las Vegas on Feb. 10.
Iran, one of the seven countries listed on the ban, brought one archer, Zahra Nemati, to last year’s Olympics. The status of Iran’s archery team for the World Cup is not known.
The U.S. wrestling team travels to Iran next month for a World Cup event, and the head of the federation said plans are still in place for that trip.
Other events in the United States later this year include the Boston Marathon and Prefontaine Classic in track and field, World Cup cycling events and another World Cup archery contest. When those events take place, the impact of the ban and its legality could be different than it is currently.
“We’re in contact with (track’s international federation) and the USOC, and we’re all committed to doing whatever we can for athletes to travel however they need to for events,” said Jill Geer of USA Track and Field.
All this comes with the International Olympic Committee set to award the 2024 Olympics in September. Los Angeles is a finalist, along with Paris and Budapest, Hungary. A spokesman for the Los Angeles bid did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.
In announcing their latest contact with the government, USOC chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun issued a joint statement Monday recognizing that “the Olympic Movement was founded based upon principles of diversity and inclusion.”
”We also acknowledge the difficult task of providing for the safety and security of a nation,” the statement said. “It is our sincere hope that the executive order as implemented will appropriately recognize the values on which our nation, as well as the Olympic Movement, were founded.”
Pistons coach sounds off
BOSTON — Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy calls President Donald Trump’s travel ban “scary” and mentioned Japanese internment and Hitler’s treatment of Jews while criticizing the policy.
The order temporarily suspends immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. On Monday in Boston, Van Gundy told reporters: “It’s starting to get really, really scary stuff now. We’re getting into the days of, now we’re judging people by their religion — trying to keep Muslims out.”
He added: “We’re getting back to the days of, you know, putting the Japanese in relocation camps, and Hitler registering the Jews.”
The Pistons play at Boston on Monday night.
MLS players union sounds off
The Major League Soccer Players Union released a statement expressing concern and disappointment with President Donald Trump’s executive order that bans citizens of seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States.
Union chief Bob Foose said the organization is concerned not only with its athletes and their families but all people impacted by the order implemented Friday. The statement said the union is still assessing the practical impact of the ban on players.
“We are extremely disappointed by the ban and feel strongly that it runs counter to the values of inclusiveness that define us as a nation,” Foose said.
The union also expressed solidarity with U.S. national team captain Michael Bradley, who came out against the ban in an interview and on social media.
Protests in Houston — Site of Super Bowl LI
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says demonstrations during Super Bowl week won’t prevent fans from having a good time.
Turner said Monday that demonstrations like the one Sunday outside Super Bowl headquarters with protesters opposing President Trump’s travel restrictions from some Muslim countries are “about people exercising their constitutional right to voice their opinion.”
Calling Houston “the most diverse city in the country,” Turner noted “we can do that and have good football at the same time.”
Turner stressed that security would not be an issue and that the city has worked for four years preparing to host the game for the first time since 2004.
American basketball players in Iran
The agent for two Americans who play professional basketball in Iran hopes they will be able to return to the country to finish their season.
J.P. Prince and Joseph Jones remain in Dubai, where they were during a break when President Donald Trump temporarily suspended immigration from seven majority Muslim countries. Iran is among them and officials there threatened retaliation against the U.S., including limiting visas to U.S. citizens.
Agent Eric Fleisher said Monday his understanding is Americans with valid visas will be allowed to re-enter Iran, and two American players did Sunday. The visas for Prince and Jones, however, have expired.
“The team unfortunately didn’t do it properly and so now they have to renew the visas and the question becomes whether they will be allowed to renew their visa,” Fleisher said.
“If not, they won’t be allowed to enter back into Iran. Their things are still in Iran. They won’t be able to continue for the remainder of the season with the club. If they can renew their visa, then presumably they’ll be allowed to re-enter and everything will be OK, but I don’t have an answer as of yet.”
Prince played at Tennessee from 2007-10, Jones played for Texas A&M from 2004-08 and both have played professionally in various countries. Fleisher said it is usually the club’s responsibility to arrange visas for all players.