Bode Miller did not hold back when asked for his stance on Russian anti-gay legislation. Speaking at the United States Olympic Committee media summit Monday ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the American skiing legend called the host country "ignorant" for enforcing a law that bans the spread of homosexual propaganda among minors. Via Reuters:
"It is absolutely embarrassing that there are countries and people who are that intolerant, that ignorant," Miller said. "But it's not the first time we've been dealing with human rights issues since there were humans."
The law has been a controversial topic among athletes hoping to qualify for U.S. national teams. The law itself is rather vague, and critics have said that, under the law, the Russian government could have the power to prosecute anyone who voices support of homosexuals in any context.
Some American athletes have been hesitant to speak on the issue, preferring to defer to the USOC and International Olympic Committee. Others, like Miller, are critical of the USOC for encouraging athletes to comply with the laws of the host country.
Via Reuters, again:
"I think it's crappy that we don't have a better system dealing with that stuff," said Miller. "Asking an athlete to go somewhere and compete and be a representative of a philosophy and all the crap that goes along with it and then tell them they can't express their views or say what they believe I think is pretty hypocritical.
"If they let me make the rules I will switch it for you immediately, I can solve a lot of stuff really quickly but unfortunately no one has elected me or given me that kind of power."
Miller isn't the first American athlete to take a hard stance against Russia's anti-gay law. Runner Nick Symmonds dedicated the silver medal he won at the World Track and Field Championship in Moscow this past August to LGBT friends in the United States.