Peter Vidmar resigned yesterday, just eight days after being named chef de mission by the USOC for the London Olympic Games. Vidmar’s active participation in anti-marriage equality campaigns made his choice more controversial than either he or the USOC anticipated. Public reaction to his appointment made it clear that his anti-gay activism would make him and the USOC lightning rods for controversy and criticism. Vidmar has every right to express his views and support whatever causes he chooses. He just needs to understand that there are consequences to speaking out against people’s rights when you are asked to represent a diverse group of athletes, some of whom are the very people you would like to deny rights to.
One of the really gratifying aspects of this story for me is that Jessica Mendoza, Olympic medal winner and professional softball player, former President of the Women’s Sports Foundation and current Changing the Game All-Star, really stepped up to the plate and hit one out of the park (pardon the pun) on this. She wrote a column in ESPNW and proved herself to be an amazing ally to LGBT people in and out of sport.
I am sure Jessica got some negative reactions to her strong and public stand on this and I appreciate her courage and willingness to speak her mind. She is willing to take the criticism from those who disagree with her that Vidmar apparently did not see coming. Everyone who supports LGBT equality should thank Jessica Mendoza and let her know how much we need and appreciate the actions of allies like her. Thank you, Jessica!