Sports How Trump's immigration ban is impacting the sporting world

How Trump's immigration ban is impacting the sporting world

Reactions from the sporting world have been flooding in following US President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order on Friday barring citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for the next 90 days.
 
Citizens and dual nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are currently barred from entering the US following Trump’s order.
 
ATHLETICS
 
Trump’s administration has informed the US Olympic Committee that the ban will not impact athletes travelling to the States for international events.
 
In a statement released yesterday, USOC (Unites States Olympic Committee) chiefs said the government had said it would "work to ensure athletes from all countries would have expedited access to the US for international competitions.”
 
In a statement, USOC Spokesperson Patrick Sandusky, said: “We are working closely with the administration to understand the new rules and how we best navigate them as it pertains to visiting athletes.”
 
USA Track & Field Chief Marketing Officer, Jill Geer, said: “We’re in contact with USOC, and we’re all committed to doing whatever we can for athletes to travel however they need to for events.”
 
Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in 2016 by becoming the first American athlete to wear a hijab at the Olympics and the first American to win a medal while wearing a hijab, tweeted: "Our diversity makes our country strong #NoBanNoWall."
 
Questions also remain over the April 17 Boston Marathon and May 26-27 Prefontaine Classic for track and field.
ARCHERY, TAEKWONDO, BASKETBALL
 
A World Cup archery event, scheduled for Las Vegas on February 10, has also seen questions raised regarding Iran’s participation.
 
And 30-year-old Iranian-born Icelandic Taekwondo star Meisam Rafiei, on his way to the US to compete in a major Taekwondo event, has been denied entry to the country.
 
Rafiei posted a photo on Facebook with the caption: "Was on my way to US Open to compete for Iceland with my Icelandic passport and was denied because I was born in Iran."
 
Meanwhile, NBA Spokesperson Mike Bass said the Association has “reached out to the State Department” to seek further clarification on how the ban could impact the league’s players from one of the countries involved.
 
“The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world,” said Bass.
 
The NBA contains a number of Muslim players one of whom, the Brooklyn Nets’ Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, spoke about the ban on Saturday night.
 
“You can’t judge a whole group by one’s actions at the end of the day,” said Hollis-Jefferson. “And I feel like that’s not right. That’s definitely not right. You can’t speak for all Muslims, because all Muslims’ hearts aren’t like that. Most of them are pure, they really believe in a different way and a different livelihood.”
AMERICAN FOOTBALL
 
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has said demonstrations during Super Bowl week (February 6) won’t prevent fans from “having a good time.”
 
Turner said yesterday that demonstrations like the one Sunday outside Super Bowl HQ with protesters opposing Trump’s travel restrictions from some Muslim countries are “about people exercising their constitutional right to voice their opinion.”
 
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Ryan Harris, who converted to Islam in his youth and has previously spoken out against Trump for anti-Muslim rhetoric, said on Sunday he was “disheartened” by the executive order.
 
"This is exactly from the playbook of hatred and divisiveness," affirmed Harris. "But I believe, and others I spend my time with, believe in the love of another human being and continue to support others who are marginalised.”
FOOTBALL
 
US Soccer captain Michael Bradley took to Twitter to say he was “sad and embarrassed” about Trump’s travel ban.
 
“When Trump was elected, I only hoped President Trump would be different from the campaigner Trump. That the xenophobic, misogynistic and narcissistic rhetoric would be replaced with a more humble and measured approach to leading our country,” said Bradley. “I was wrong. And the Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward.”
 
 

A photo posted by Michael Bradley (@michaelbr4dley) on

Major League Soccer Players Union chief Bob Foose said the MLS is concerned “not only with its athletes and their families but all people impacted” by the order. The statement added that the Union is “still assessing the practical impact on players.”
 
Foose added: “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.”
 
The Union has also expressed solidarity with Bradley’s statement.
 
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