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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks Russia and its athletes should face harsh punishment

Kareem thinks the entire international sports community should act on Russia
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes Russia and its athletes should face harsh consequences

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes Russia and its athletes should face harsh consequences

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared some harsh judgment upon Russia for their invasion of Ukraine and believes all of their athletes should pay the price for how their government is handling the situation. 

It all started at the Winter Olympics

We have entered the 10th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and even though it's not necessarily a basketball-related topic, it can potentially affect the NBA. It definitely means a lot to the two Ukrainian players in the league, Alex Len and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. Innocent people suffer, lives are being unnecessarily lost, and things could have been done differently to avoid this. Numerous people are talking about the current events in Ukraine, and when it comes to the NBA community, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made it clear Russia and its athletes should feel the consequences.

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an experienced writer and someone who showed incredible interest in history and everything that is happening in the world around him. In a recent article he wrote, Kareem reflected on the war between Ukraine and Russia and how the Russian leadership played a vital role in initiating this conflict. 

Kareem correlates the recent events in Ukraine with how aggressively Russia wanted to win at all costs at the last Winter Olympics in China. Their athlete was caught using inappropriate performance enhancement drugs, and in an event like the Olympics, that has no place and is heavily penalized. Kareem believes Russians are trying to cheat their way in every possible aspect. War is one thing and rarely does anyone play fair in war, but sports are different, and some basic rules should be respected.

"The world is also aware of the doping that Russia encourages among its athletes because the ultimate goal for them is not the integrity of sports nor the advancement of meritocracy, but winning at any cost—even cheating—if it helps the political aims of Russia."

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International sports community should exclude Russia

The majority of the western world has already condemned Russia for its actions, and numerous sanctions have been introduced. Kareem supports that in its entirety and believes the entire international sports community should separate itself from Russia and limit its ability to participate in sporting events with other countries. Even though Kareem accepts that ordinary athletes have nothing to do with politics, a strong message needs to be sent to put as much pressure as possible on their leadership. 

"So, what is the international sports community going to do about it? I know we aren't a military threat, but that doesn't mean we don't have significant power. By showing unity with those who oppose the invasion, we take away the public relations power they sought, and we bring pressure to bear on the Russian bear. By banning all Russian teams from competing in any international sports, we are affirming that Russia's actions are unacceptable and that anyone representing their country—even though the athletes may be innocent pawns—will not be welcome."

Kareem continues that everyone should be united in banning Russia and its athletes from competing pretty much anywhere in the sporting world. In Kareem's opinion, unprecedented situations like the invasion of Ukraine should result in the highest possible retribution. 

"This should only be the beginning. Every governing body of every sport needs to ban Russian athletes from competing in order to send the unified message that Russia's unilateral invasion of a sovereign country will not be tolerated. And in situations where the governing bodies have not acted, the individual athletes should refuse to compete against athletes from Russia and Belarus, Russia's ally in the invasion."

Kareem was always vocal about racial and social injustice and wasn't afraid to express his opinion even though it may be unpopular in the public discourse. His comments about punishing Russian athletes at all costs may sound radical and unnecessary, but it's already starting to happen, and they will face harsh persecutions just like their politicians and leaders. 

Whether we'll see an ending to this war soon remains to be seen, but the ultimate consequences will be felt by the regular people and, in this case, the Russian athletes. I am positive the majority of them really don't care about the conflict, want peace, and don't necessarily support their leadership, but soon they might feel very isolated and deprived of doing what they've been dedicating their entire lives.

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