In the wake of Robert Mugabe’s “victory” in the Zimbabwean presidential election, the ICC may move to ban that nation’s cricket team from international competitions. Now that Mugabe has been sworn in, the pressure to take action against Zimbabwe will only grow. And grow it should.
In the process of stealing the election, Mugabe’s henchmen murdered at least 85 opposition supporters, while countless others were assaulted or displaced. The U.N. Security Council has already condemned the tactics (and the election), and it’s appropriate that every other pressure be brought to bear upon Mugabe. If that means punishing Zimbabwean athletes for the political order back home, then so be it.
Though less likely, a late-hour ban from the IOC is also justified. There’s precedent, of course, as Apartheid-era South Africa was banned from Olympic competition for close to three decades. On the other hand, the IOC’s ability to make a credible stand for human rights is undermined by, you know, allowing China to host. Yet the IOC shouldn’t worry itself with the hobgoblin of little minds; instead, it should take the bold step of barring Zimbabwe’s Olympians until Mugabe is deposed.