Wimbledon Bans Russian, Belarusian Players

    Image copyright: Reuters [via The New York Times]

    The Facts

    • Wimbledon has banned players from Russia and Belarus from this year's tournament, which begins June 27, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

    • The ban comes despite players from the two countries continuing to compete in ATP and WTA events, albeit without playing under their countries' flags.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    These athletes are paying a steep price, but bans are necessary to deny Putin one of his most reliable political tools and isolate him internationally.

    Narrative B

    This is an error. It's unfair to penalize individual athletes for decisions taken by the leaders of their countries, and it sets a dangerous precedent. The intent may be to embarrass Russia, but it will more likely simply foment victimhood back home.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    It's hypocritical for the British to sanction Russia for invading Ukraine while not sanctioning themselves for invading Iraq for equally unjustified reasons.

    Cynical narrative

    What looks like a political statement is probably more about optics. Wimbledon dreaded the thought of a Russian or Belarusian player winning the title and then holding up a trophy on its Center Court, before taking traditional pictures with members of the Royal Family.

    Establishment split



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