On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reportedly decided to ban the Statue of Liberty on an American hockey goalie helmet because it was too “political.” The IOC belatedly approved the helmet in question mere hours before the U.S. women’s hockey game against the Olympic athletes from Russia.
The Statue of Liberty image appears on the masks of American goalies Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby, who are set to play the athletes from Russia on Wednesday.
The marks is a tribute to all things Americana: the USA crest proudly at the top, the famous V-J Day kiss on the side, the bald eagle on the other side, and a stamp depicting the Statue of Liberty right on the chin, Yahoo Sports reported.
The mask allegedly broke a rule that “No item may feature the wording or lyrics from national anthems, motivational words, public/political messaging or slogans related to national identity.”
Ironically, the IOC allowed a Statue of Liberty design in 2014. Officials made Jessie Vetter remove wording from the Preamble to the Constitution from the back of her mask, but allowed her to keep the image of the Statue of Liberty on her mask.
Rigsby, one of the two goalies with a Statue of Liberty mask, has endured two hip surgeries to continue her career and make it to the Olympics, even though she is only 26 years old. Thanks to the IOC, her helmet is a bigger story than her success in making it to the Olympics.
The Statue of Liberty may seem like a political message, as it hails the U.S.’s welcoming embrace of immigrants. Even so, Americans on the Right and the Left hail the statue, as conservatives want to welcome legal immigrants and liberals want to embrace all immigrants regardless of legal status. The Statue of Liberty is beyond political messaging, and the Olympic Committee should know that.
They finally accepted the statue on the mask, but much of the damage had already been done.
“I would imagine the IOC is something like the NFL, there’s certain protocols for what you can wear and what you can’t wear,” Benjamin Watson, a tight end for the Baltimore Ravens, told Fox & Friends Tuesday morning. “The crazy thing to me is that it wasn’t approved beforehand.”
“It’d be different if it said a point of view like ‘Fascism sucks,’ or something like that,” Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade chimed in. “But we pretty much know the Statue of Liberty stands for America.”
Indeed. The wording of the IOC rule which the masks allegedly violated certainly suggests written words — “wording” or “lyrics,” “messaging” or “slogans.” The Statue of Liberty is not a written word, and it is an all-encompassing symbol of America.
For the segment, Fox & Friends went with the angle “Patriotism wins.” This is indeed a victory for patriotism, but only after the IOC chose to make a stink over a non-issue that they were perfectly fine with in 2014.