Todd Pazz talked with Tyler Young, a fellow show host at mediaBrew Communications, about the recent Ukraine invasion and its impact on the world and sports. Sports may not be your first thought as an issue in war, but it is impacted.
Since 2015, Russia has been banned from the Olympics for “Doping” their athletes with illegal performance enhancing drugs. Russian athletes, however, were still allowed to participate as the “Russian Olympic Committee”, perhaps defeating the point of the suspension. Due to the most recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Belarus’s involvement both countries have been banned from all organized sports in the west. Various sanctions were imposed in order to punish Russia and Belarus.
Putin may have a reputation for liking sports, but he is not impacted by the sanctions placed his country’s sports teams. On the other hand, The blanket ban in place is preventing young children and teenagers attempting to join the CHL and NHL from participating. Dan Milstein, a Ukrainian born NHL player argues that Russian children were too negatively impacted by the sanctions and that there were other ‘real threats’ needing to be addressed. In more general instances, many citizens are redirecting their frustrations towards the Russian government by sending death threats to Russian players such as Ilya Andreyevich Mikheyev of the Toronto Maple Leaves and Nikita Igorevich Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Despite Putin being an avid hockey fan, these sanctions do not personally affect him, instead it punishes young Russian athletes. Many Americans agree, sports develop young people into responsible adults, and for many athletes it may be their only road out of poverty or a difficult life situation. The irony of destabilizing these young peoples life paths is seen as a necessary evil by western governments to try to end the war. A necessary evil however, is still evil.
On February 24th, China made a $20 billion deal with Russia which may now subject both subject to sanctions to be induced on both countries. Furthermore, if these two superpowers come together militarily they have an arsenal of over 6500+ nuclear warheads. Russia also requested economic assistance after the Ruble’s value crashed. The two countries also have a “Treaty of Friendship” since 2001 and Russia may play along with this bond if Russia is further sanctioned.
Right now there is a very thin veil between possible peace and nuclear war. If Putin reaches his goal of destabilizing NATO, then the entire world will be at risk. Tyler brings up the point, that “if there is this much fear and if these sanctions are being placed then there has to be other, more productive nonviolent options to be explored that do not affect children.” Todd, taking the role of “Devil’s Advocate,” advocates that reducing the standard of living and effecting the leisure of Russian citizens is only the first step, and further sanctions may be necessary if war escalates, but it’s better than the world burning to ash.