U.S. fencers wear pink masks to protest against teammates

The three fencers of the U.S. Men’s Olympic team all wore pink masks when they arrived in Tokyo on Friday to participate in the first match against Japan.

But the harmonized mask is no coincidence.They are three of them systematically opposed to one Teammate accused of sexual assault, A source close to the team told BuzzFeed News.

Photos shared on social media showed that three of the men’s epee team’s four athletes-Jack Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Jessel Ramirez-were wearing pink Mask while teammates Alan Hadzic -Under investigation for sexual assault-Wearing black.

“This contempt is obvious,” a source told BuzzFeed News.

Another fencer who did not participate in the Tokyo Olympics said: “They decided to make a statement saying that they do not support him being there.” “They want to distinguish between themselves. They do not represent sexual assault or abuse of women. These are. Athletes want to speak out in the event that American fencing and SafeSport fail.”

Despite facing at least three allegations of sexual misconduct in the past, Hadzic was selected as a substitute for the men’s epee team for the 2020 Olympics, which caused frustration and anger among the US fencers. For details, please see BuzzFeed News Survey.

His selection prompted six female fencers, including two Olympic athletes, to urge the IOC not to let him represent the United States; they said that his appearance was a “direct insult” to other athletes and put them at risk. middle.

“We are very worried about the impact of Mr. Hadzic’s potential presence on other US team athletes,” the women wrote on May 20.

Although the American Safety Sports Center, a non-profit organization responsible for protecting athletes from abuse, suspended Hadzic’s Olympic qualifications last month due to an investigation, he tried to lift the ban through arbitration.

The American Fencing Organization has developed a “safety plan” to keep Hadzic away from women and the Olympic Village, which includes his travels and separation from his teammates.

He was also forbidden to practice with his female teammates.

Hadzic denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, telling USA Today “They are untrue.” His lawyer Michael Palma told New York Times His client has never committed any sexual assault.

USA Fencing did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the pink mask.

But this stunt won the praise of U.S. fencer and 2016 Olympic medalist Ibtihaji Mohamed.

“Thank you for the team’s statement,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Although Hadzic did not participate on Friday, the team lost to the Japanese team and ranked ninth.

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