“The View” hosts Ana Navarra and Joy Behar came down on opposite sides of the debate over American Olympians and whether or not they should remain silent about the host nation’s record of human rights abuses.
“The controversy started before the torch was even lit,” Behar began. “Here is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning athletes they should keep their political opinions to themselves while they’re in China.”
Nancy Pelosi tells American athletes not to speak out on any Chinese genocide or human rights issues while they are at the Olympics. Maybe she can be the next NBA commissioner too? pic.twitter.com/oyTY74VPhJ
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 4, 2022
“I would say to our athletes, you’re there to compete. Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless. I know there is a temptation on the part of some to speak out while they are there. I respect that, but I also worry about what the Chinese government might do to their reputations, to their families,” Pelosi said.
“I don’t like this at all. I don’t like that at all,” Navarro said.
“Diplomats are protesting by skipping the games altogether, but she’s telling them to not — don’t start up,” Behar responded.
“That’s so un-American, you know? It’s so — what China has done to the Uyghurs is something that should be protested, and if there is any athlete who wants to have the courage to do that, and I understand this is about athleticism, but it’s also a huge worldwide platform,” Navarro said.
Navarro — whose family fled an oppressive government in Nicaragua — said that the real problem was the fact that the International Olympic Committee was ignoring human rights abuses when considering host countries. “If we know that China has committed genocide and has imprisoned over 1 million Uyghurs, why are they being allowed to host an Olympic Games, which is a huge honor for any country?”
“I actually can see both sides, because I think the speaker is trying to make sure that the athletes don’t step in it,” guests co-host — and longtime veteran of the show — Star Jones added. “And that they’re safe, you know, we think about the allegations of human rights violations all the time, and we want our athletes to be able to go, compete, get home safely.”
“I understand what the Speaker is trying to say. But of course, when you are given a platform like you have right here, you want to speak out, but with no diplomats there, our athletes wouldn’t even have anybody to advocate for them,” Jones continued, adding that she felt like Pelosi was just trying to make sure none of the athletes put their personal safety at risk.
“She’s being maternal, I think. You know, Nancy is Momala. She’s always like — I think about the children. It’s for the children. She cares about the kids. That’s her,” Behar insisted.
“You saw those two athletes with their hands up in the air — Jesse Owens, and it’s one of the most inspirational images in history,” Navarro continued. “We do have diplomatic — we have a full embassy. What we don’t have are people like the first lady or the president or diplomats from America. We’re not sending dignitaries from America. So we have — they better not imprison one of our athletes.”
“I don’t even want our athletes to be put in that trick bag,” Jones said, noting that Olympians had been warned ahead of time to leave their personal cellphones at home and use disposable phones instead.
China’s Olympic organizing committee also issued warnings to athletes who might be tempted to speak out about political issues, saying, “Any expression that is in line with the Olympic spirit I’m sure will be protected. Any behavior or speech that is against the Olympic spirit, especially against the Chinese laws and regulations, are also subject to certain punishment.”