Home News US Olympic Fencers Wore Pink Masks To Protest Towards Their Teammate Accused...

US Olympic Fencers Wore Pink Masks To Protest Towards Their Teammate Accused Of Sexual Assault

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Three fencers on the boys’s US Olympic crew had been carrying pink masks once they arrived Friday in Tokyo for his or her opening match towards Japan.

However the coordinated masks weren’t a coincidence; they had been a deliberate protest by the trio towards a teammate who is accused of sexual assault, sources near the crew instructed BuzzFeed Information.

Pictures shared on social media confirmed three of the 4 athletes on the boys’s épée crew — Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald, and Yeisser Ramirez — carrying pink masks, whereas teammate Alen Hadzic — who’s beneath investigation for sexual assault — wore a black one.

“The disdain was clear,” one supply instructed BuzzFeed Information.

“They determined to make a press release that they weren’t standing for him being there,” mentioned one other fencing athlete not competing within the Tokyo Olympics. “They wished to make a distinction between themselves that they did not stand for sexual assault or abuse towards ladies. These athletes wished to have a voice the place US Fencing and SafeSport failed.”

Regardless of going through no less than three allegations of previous sexual misconduct, Hadzic was picked as an alternate on the boys’s épée crew for the 2020 Olympics, inflicting dismay and outrage amongst Staff USA fencers, as detailed in a BuzzFeed News investigation.

His inclusion prompted six ladies fencers, together with two Olympic athletes, to induce the Worldwide Olympic Committee to not enable him to characterize the US; his presence, they mentioned, was a “direct affront” to fellow athletes and put them in danger.

“We’re gravely involved in regards to the influence Mr. Hadzic’s potential presence may have on different Staff USA athletes,” the ladies wrote on Might 20.

Whereas the US Heart for SafeSport, the nonprofit company answerable for defending athletes from abuse, suspended Hadzic from the Olympics final month as a result of investigation, he fought to get his prohibition lifted by an arbitration course of.

USA Fencing created a “security plan” to maintain Hadzic away from ladies and out of the Olympic Village, which included him touring and staying individually from his teammates.

He was additionally forbidden from practising with ladies teammates.

Hadzic has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, telling USA Today that “they’re untruths.” His legal professional, Michael Palma, instructed the New York Times that his consumer had by no means dedicated any acts of sexual assault.

USA Fencing didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark in regards to the pink masks.

However the stunt earned reward from US fencer and 2016 Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad.

“Kudos to the crew for taking a stand,” she tweeted on Friday.

Whereas Hadzic didn’t take part on Friday, the crew misplaced to Japan and got here in ninth.