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Putin: Sports should be focus of Sochi Olympics, not debate over gay rights

Friday, February 7, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speak during their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service, RIA Novosti (AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speak during their meeting in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

SOCHI, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin says sports should take center stage during the Winter Olympics and not debate over gay rights.

A Russian law banning gay “propaganda” from reaching minors has drawn strong international criticism and calls for boycott of the Sochi Games from gay activists and others.

In a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Friday ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Games, Putin said the focus should now turn to the Olympics.

In a tweet from his official Twitter account, Rutte says he “Expressed the concerns of the Dutch government and populace about human rights and specific rights of LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders) in Russia.”

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139 more reader comments:

  1. Well, too bad Putin. You did this to yourself!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:35pm
  2. Human rights

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:36pm
  3. Take a look to the Doodle today! Thumbs up for Google!

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:51pm
  4. Que cette Homme aille en ENFER: :poop: Putine

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:10pm
  5. You’re right, Putin! Look at what a damn mess you made

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:37pm
  6. It’s so funny, because Putin was the one who made this about LGBT right by denying them to people.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:37pm
  7. Yep he started all of this

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:37pm
  8. Any event that endorses or causes hate, or asks you to turn a blind eye to it, is by definition, a hate-mongering event.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:38pm
  9. Boys, that guy needs a big kiss, or a brick to the face, not sure…maybe both.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:38pm
  10. He’s right. But he’s also the one who made gay rights (or rather the lack of them) the main issue. IDIOT.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:39pm
  11. Sounds like your fuckin problem now doesn’t it, if you can’t handle the heat then don’t start the fire

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:39pm
  12. Its Human Rights stupid

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:40pm
  13. Cover your ass

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:40pm
  14. Memo to Putin: we’ll talk about whatever we want to talk about. You’re not the boss of us. ;-)

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:40pm
  15. hahahaha i like you.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:18pm
  16. n why not allow the gays in there is no turning this over

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:40pm
  17. Quick! Pest control, I see a stray dog!… no, just Putin.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:41pm
  18. if putin hadn’t started this then there would be focus on the olympics but every human has rights and to try and take them away of course people are going to focus on his narrowmindeness

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:42pm
  19. Ppl shouldn’t have to hide who they are to play said sports

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:42pm
  20. I’m sure had the world known of Hitler’s abuse and deportation of Jews to camps in 1936, the focus would not have been on sports. As such it should not be in Sochi under Putin’s sanctioned abuse of gays.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:43pm
  21. The world did know. The U.S. Olympic Commission's Avery Brundage sympathized with the Nazis and said that he belonged to a club in Chicago that did not allow Jews. After Jesse Owens won, the U.S. Olympic Commission withdrew the only two U.S. Jewish athletes at the Berlin Olympics, Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman, so as not to embarrass Hitler should a Jewish person win a medal.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  22. ^wow. Pathetic history we have. :(

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:28pm
  23. he made it about gay rights!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:43pm
  24. Human rights always matter, Pooty.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:43pm
  25. Not only Gay Rights … its ABOUT Human Rights plain and simple… How many have become homeless, lots all they had, all that has been destroyed…for YOU to try (notice I said TRY) to impress the world…NOT working, You are Mr. President making of Soshi a disgrace to the human kind… Very sad for all atlhetes from around the world who worked so hard to make it to the Olympics BUT we are not watching… And that, Mr. President is on YOU and You alone

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:44pm
  26. Well then, Vlad, maybe you shouldn’t have made it an issue by making Russia a country that is unwelcoming to the LGBT community. You brought this upon yourself, you despotic little man. Deal with it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:44pm
  27. Ah, what a asshole. He puts up giant signs all over Sochi, has the Natzi police arresting anyone with a rainbow sticker, the Olympic rings have been painted all white except for the Red ring, He wants a war on human rights, he’s got one now.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:45pm
  28. Jo, I wanna like that twice!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:45pm
  29. Fuck Putin and it homophobic policies!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:45pm
  30. Well, Putin, I think you’re quite stupid, then.
    Also it’s human rights, not gay rights.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:46pm
  31. Sports and not politics of ANY nature should be the focus.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:46pm
  32. The safety concerns at the event are not "gay rights" related yet are still political...

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:49pm
  33. Surely hes means ‘rights’ not gay rights…like have gay ppl got gay cars..gay houses.. gay babies…lmfao what a knob…..while i support his dislike of islam…which supported killing of jews and supports death to ppl of differing sexualities….i do not support something that is not a persons choice
    ..sexuality is not a choice..religion and opinion are…. hes a knob

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:46pm
  34. Homosexuality was commonplace in ancient Greece where the Olympics originated.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:46pm
  35. Homosexuality is commonplace everywhere, in the sense that it is a universally occurring, normal human variant.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:59pm
  36. It's part of human nature which you can't fight with or argue with no matter what.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:49pm
  37. I agree. My comment is in response to those like Putin who feel that homosexuality isn't "normal."

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:54pm
  38. what a hypocrite

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:48pm
  39. Seriously, he made the discussion about gay rights by making this an issue right before the Olympics. Maybe you should’ve used the molecule of common sense you have to figured out not to do this right before a major event.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:48pm
  40. ur Christy Furr-tm it is sports… hence gay athletes being there… you cant have athletes say who are african…competing ..while beating them up…..so you dont beat up or deny equality to people in your own country while promoting a gathering that celebrates diversity of color..creed..sexuality. Christ.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:49pm
  41. You know what Mr. Dictator…. life’s a bitch!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:49pm
  42. Putin was the one who made issues!!!! #lgbtrights #teamlgbt

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:50pm
  43. Yeah, Vladimir, then don’t make it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:50pm
  44. …Mr. Putin should change his name into Hitler! I detest this poor soul!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:51pm
  45. This is my show Mr. Putin.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:51pm
  46. By his actions he has guaranteed that the focus of the Winter Games will be human rights and shamed his own nation.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:51pm
  47. Yeah cuz human rights are no big deal….

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:52pm
  48. Ok then stop making comments and speeches about how gays must stay away from kids and taking people to jail because they are gay…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:52pm
  49. The Olympics is primarily a event of unity Mr. Putin. If you didn’t discriminate against people, we could focus on the sports aspect.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:53pm
  50. Too bad you made it that way cunt bag!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:53pm
  51. oh yeah ?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:53pm
  52. Putin and his administration are terrible human beings.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:53pm
  53. You’ve offended too many people Putin. Its not gonna work that way.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:54pm
  54. Fuck him.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:55pm
  55. well what he is saying about the Olympics is true, but too bad he screwed himself over by making it illegal to be gay in Russia, you can’t just weasle your way out of it Putin

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:55pm
  56. Yes sports should be the focus, but a lot of athletes are gay and should be able to proudly have the companionship and support they deserve…no matter who they love…propaganda that entices children does not come from gay people, but PEDOPHILES…you ignorant fuck

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:56pm
  57. Oh, so now sport is more important than human rights – got it -.-

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  58. He’s the dumbass making it an issue! Freak!!!! We shoulda done a boycott!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  59. Too late asshole!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  60. Russia is so concerned about their image. Well of all the people organizing this thing, no one had the sense to figure out that news of all these ugly events was eventually going to reach the rest of the world? Trying to shift focus to the games now is laughable. You can’t just insist the rest of the world is wrong just because you say so. That might fly in Moscow, but the rest of the world is not Putin’s controlled population. He HAD to know his endeavors were going to be watched closely. If he made bad things happen, then he has only himself and his brainwashed regime to blame. Too bad, so sad.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  61. Well then shut the hell up about gay rights then and focus on the sports….

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  62. Backward savages

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 4:58pm
  63. Well, sir, you are the one that made it an issue so if it comes back to bite you in the ass don’t complain.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:00pm
  64. Putin the puke, it is human rights we are interested in all of them.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:01pm
  65. Karma is a bitch, BITCH.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:01pm
  66. and what about all the dogs that are being murdered on their streets, the billions of dollars in construction bids that got handed to his friends at almost 5 times the cost of the olympics in china, what about the whales he harvested for people to gawk at and the clearly unsafe conditions the hotels are in? i suppose he doesn’t want to talk about any of that either… the games are a fiasco this year and that idiot seriously needs to reevaluate his ability to run a country

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:01pm
  67. rasPutin: go fuck yourself!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:02pm
  68. Well, Vlad, you made *human* rights the focus when you signed that Draconian “propaganda” bill into law.

    I don’t get why people think they can run from this issue as if it doesn’t exist.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:03pm
  69. Putin wins the Gold Medal for the total disregard of HUMAN RIGHTS! And yes Jeremiah ANIMAL RIGHTS too!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:03pm
  70. Easily said by a political figure who doesn’t have to worry about scrutiny from an anti gay country.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:03pm
  71. Putin is nothing but a dictator!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:04pm
  72. Fuck you putin you nazi dumb fuck. Hope you choke on a rainbow.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:07pm
  73. He’s such a little “twerp”!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:08pm
  74. Stop persecuting gay people – problem solved!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:08pm
  75. fuck you putin you are no better then hitler.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:09pm
  76. What a hypocrite. HE started it…..

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:09pm
  77. fuck him

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:10pm
  78. dog killer

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:10pm
  79. He reminds me of Hitler back is his day…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:12pm
  80. Covering up your incompetence by beating up on queers is classic. You were the ones who changed the subject by institutionalizing hate into law. There is a way to change the subject. Admit you were wrong and change the law. Oh, and you are still incompetent to hold an Olympics.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:12pm
  81. The dveloped world is looking at Russia and shaking their heads. The 2014 Winter Games will ALWAYS be known for Putin’s anti-gay stance. Just like the 1936 Berlin Games will always be known for the rise of Nazi Germany.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:12pm
  82. #Nazi2.0

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:13pm
  83. There is no debate about you and your policies of hate and human rights violations Mr.Putin….now come to America so I can whoop your ass :-)

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:14pm
  84. Seriously hes a dumb ass! Making “gay propaganda” a huge problem then telling Russia otherwise??

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:14pm
  85. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Hitler say something along similar lines way back when ?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:16pm
  86. He’s MAKING it a debate by making it punished.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:19pm
  87. Gay rights is ok by me

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:20pm
  88. Fuck everyone else who disagrees

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:20pm
  89. In Russia gay rights should be the debate you all aliens murder abuse and more they even have to have their own taxi service and you could give two shits about their right your Hitler Jr

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:20pm
  90. It wouldn’t be if you and your country did not have such a draconian view of LGBT people. Russia does not embody the values the Olympics represent therefore it is not a suitable venue for the event.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:22pm
  91. It’s true. But isn’t he the one who said, “we welcome your gay people but please stay away from our children”? If only he could follow his own advice.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:22pm
  92. Well said April. He started the debate.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:23pm
  93. shame on you Putin….!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:26pm
  94. who talks about sports? michael phelps!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:26pm
  95. Shut the hell up Putin. Your entire argument against legitimately innocent homosexuals is that we rape children. How about you stop pretending like you know anything about any gay person, and die in a fire.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:27pm
  96. Putin You are the biggest asshole in the universe!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:28pm
  97. Putin’s an idiot…

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:28pm
  98. Sports is about humans rights, Putin is a Dictator

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:28pm
  99. Very true. Who brought human rights to the forefront? Putin?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:31pm
  100. It’s a fucking human rights issue when you are violating the Olympic goddamn charter that says that all athletes should be able to perform and represent their country in the games without fear of discrimination….to refer to gay athletes and spectators to “leave the children be” as of we are all pedos and to not be allowed accurately represent themselves as they are cause god forbid kissing your better half when you get off the field after potentially winning the highest achievement of your athletic career, might tell some people in Russia “hey it’s okay to be gay…so and so is gay and he/her is an Olympian and they aren’t dying of AIDS or raping children like the people governing us all said they did”

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:33pm
  101. Well, it was his decision to thrust it into the forefront, not ours.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:34pm
  102. Wrong Putin!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:34pm
  103. I didn’t think it could happen. Putin is more hated than George W Bush!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:36pm
  104. Putin is a Putz !!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:40pm
  105. I think what putin is doing is wrong….but i hope you guys arent boycotting the olympics…i mean yes its being held in a country that hates gay people but this is the olympics…its about being proud of where you come from and being proud of our atheletes….so me, being bisexual and proud, will watch the winter olympics and ill be cheering canada on like crazy!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:41pm
  106. Putin, you started it! Don’t call us out on something you caused!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:42pm
  107. No Gays In RUSSIA …….keep gays for the USA

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:46pm
  108. I agree it is about the sports and compition not a sexual orientation

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:50pm
  109. Just as looking back on the 1936 Berlin Olympics should be about the sports, and not the holocaust.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:55pm
  110. WRONG

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:56pm
  111. Neko Winters, right on

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:56pm
  112. Yeah, we should concentrate on the terrible construction of the hotels instead.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:57pm
  113. Russia is a fascist country ruled by a vile mafia boss. . Do what we did with Hitler

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:58pm
  114. When you host, you open all of your country to the world…the good, the bad and the UGLY!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5:58pm
  115. And to those people who say focus on sports and not the suffering of those minorities well wake up people silence and ignorance lead to atrocities

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:00pm
  116. look at how he sits, so tense and masculine, or is just getting ready to fly right out of there

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:00pm
  117. He’s just Putin off the inevitable… :p

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:01pm
  118. Well then Putin the idiot should keep his mouth shut

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:01pm
  119. But this is the man who started this situation in the first place.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:01pm
  120. Russia is vile dont go there. No money should be put in their economy

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:02pm
  121. Partly true. The caveat is there are gay athletes competing. Olympics suppose to bring nations closer. But if a minority group of people is prosecuted, we are going against it.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:04pm
  122. so stop being a bigot.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:09pm
  123. Since when has being gay NOT been a winter sport – daily we have to dodge homophobes, “skate” round anti-gay comments, “speed skate” away from queer-bashers and “dance on ice” when threatened – some of us in certain countries are constantly on a “blade edge” in case the politsiya knock on your door and then your stomach does a “buttefly jump”, something else does a “cherry flip”. They put you in a “lay back spin”, then they “lunge”. At the end of the day we need an almighty snow plough to sweep away phobias and bury them deep below the permafrost.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:09pm
  124. You know what? Putin is RIGHT it SHOULD be about the sports. Unfortunately his bigotry has gotten the best of him, as MANY people care less about the Olympics, than they care about HUMAN RIGHTS.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:11pm
  125. Ok really stop and think for a minute how do you think being queer is normal and ok

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:13pm
  126. Putin es una loca punka, que se deje de cosas. Sal del closet cariño

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:16pm
  127. In short order the Olympics will be going away but we wont be going away until Russia gives LGBT rights.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:17pm
  128. Yeah, how do you expect people to focus on sports when they are afraid for their lives.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:20pm
  129. Yeah!! How convenient POS

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:26pm
  130. let’s put the focus on Russian Prisons, another center of Putin’s “morality”

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:27pm
  131. Which is more important? Human rights or sports?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:27pm
  132. How can you take him seriously, he still has his shirt on?

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:30pm
  133. They are human rights, not just gay rights, asshole!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:34pm
  134. The title even sais it all just gay rights like it’s 2nd class citizens try human rights

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:38pm
  135. We will all make up our own minds what we believe is important. Advice from Putin: not required.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:41pm
  136. hahaha

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:42pm
  137. fuck putin sputin

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:42pm
  138. Putin is a bar steward of the first degree!!! F xxxxx

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:46pm
  139. Oh yeah. Lets forget about the human rights and have fun.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6:52pm