Ethics Dunce: The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on April 6 that Russians and Belarusians who had been accepted to compete in the 2022 Boston Marathon and are currently residing in either country, will not be allowed to compete.

“Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” said President & CEO of the B.A.A. Tom Grilk. “We believe that running is a global sport, and as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine.”


Clearly, The Great Stupid (TGS for short) has variants like the Wuhan virus. This one is not directly related to George Floyd Ethics Freakout like the original “antiracism”/ let’s pretend every couple in America is biracial and make race and gender the most important criteria for goddamn everything TGS, but it’s almost as brain-crippling.

This one started in Germany, as I recounted here. Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was fired from the Munich Philharmonic orchestra this week. His offense? He is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and refused to publicly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I began by writing that at least that undemocratic version of TGS hadn’t made it to the U.S., but it rapidly made it here. Anna Netrebko, the celebrated Russian opera soprano, failed to submit to the company’s demand that she distance herself from President  Putin, and was dismissed by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I wrote then,

The Met, like most arts institutions, is infected by the progressive virus that has mutated in the direction of totalitarianism of late. This is, for a democracy, the deadliest slippery slope of them all….If this can be done to an artist, it can be done to an athlete, a lawyer, a professor or a business owner. If not condemning one public figure can be justification for this treatment, then not condemning anyone the government, a business, an institution or a majority of the public disapproves of for any reason can be similarly punished.

Well, in its frenzied virtue-signaling, the BAA has jumped right past compelled speech to guilt by association, and the broadest “association” possible: national  citizenship. There is no indication that any of the 63 runners now banned from the Boston Marathon based on where they lived had any complicity in the Russian invasion of Ukraine or approve of it. At least the singer and conductor were reportedly Putin pals.

Yet again, I have been especially slow on recognizing these new strains. Another post should have been a big clue, about iconic Russian composers, who are dead and couldn’t possibly have been involved in the Ukraine invasion unless they have been haunting Vlad, being banned in Wales.

Could the Russian and Belarusian runners have had any responsibility for Putin’s war crimes? No. Can they do anything now to stem them? No. They are being used as helpless props by the BAA, who want to show the world that though they can’t do anything to stop Putin either, at least they are taking pointless an punitive actions against innocents to demonstrate their outrage.

The ban is a bright line, throbbing breach of Emanuel Kant’s most important categorical imperative, an ethics commandment: Never use a human life as a means to your end. Of course, these bozos never studied Kant, or probably ethics either. They just want to show that they are doing something, even though what they doing doesn’t address or solve any problem, and causes needless harm.



12 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)

  1. I hope there is more outcry over this. Everyone knows that a corrupt government is separate from its regular citizens. I assume the left is going to show their outrage over this, right?

  2. Boston Athletic Association: what do you expect from radical Left fascist democrats.
    At least they are consistent in their oppressive behavior.

  3. Anna Netrebko got fired by the Met? That’s amazing. I think the arts community has been out to get Gergiev for quite a while, so I’m not surprised. They consider him a Commie, which is hilarious. They wouldn’t know a Commie if she represented the Bronx in the U.S. Congress. I think a lot of westerners in the classical music and opera and dance industrial complex have been looking for a reason to run off the Russian artists. They are good, and numerous and ridiculously accomplished, and they work relatively cheap. All the young virtuoso pianists are Russians. There’s going to be a lot of holes in concert halls around Europe.

    • ALERT! In this space was a comment by A Friend. I’ll post it below because it’s interesting, but please note: On March 28, AF wrote:

      I’m glad you like my posts, Jack. This will be the last one unless you reverse your preposterous “ban” on Katie and absurd lectures to her on manners.

      I did not un-ban Katie, who violated Ethics Alarms commenter rules (available to all above). Also in those same rules is this: “Grandstanding: If you make grand and indignant exit, and announce your permanent withdrawal from the blog, you are gone for good. An e-mail to me with an appropriate apology and a request to be reinstated will occasionally work if you change your mind. Maybe. Don’t count on it.”

      I have not received any such apology or request.

      Here is what A Friend tried to post, in response to Other Bill:

      Which is exactly why the actual details matter. The situation involving Valery Gergiev isn’t within five light-years of the dumb decision to bar Russians and Belorusians from the Boston Marathon. Gergiev has for all intents and purposes conducted concerts on the battlefield in defense of the type of Russian brutality that is now being repeated in Ukraine. Below is a 2008 article from the New York Times about his militant support for Putin in South Ossetia and how Gergiev put his professional standing on the line for this monster and his war crimes in Georgia and eventually Syria and elsewhere.

      It’s precisely the point that generalizations don’t work, whether it’s the Boston Marathon’s gross overreach in this case, or this blog’s occasional rigid statements of principles in the absence of enough (or often any) dissenting viewpoints from people who might have relevant information at their disposal. As far as Anna Netrebko goes, it may be a closer call, but she has provided material and financial support for the breakaway regions of Eastern Ukraine, and in any case, her career was already on a downslide and she had developed a chronic habit of backing out of performances anyway. That alone should offend this blog’s host, who well knows the culture of “the show must go on” in theater that Ms. Netrebko has a very hard time honoring.

  4. The B.A.A. considers one country invading another country, halfway around the world, as worse than two men detonating bombs during the Boston Marathon. The B.A.A. never did ban Chechens after the tragic Boston Marathon bombing.

  5. I find this reaction so interesting compared to the virus escaping China. The same thing happened, I am sure you recall, it was more an everyday people reaction, but the “leaders” were really outspoken against it, unlike today with the banning of Russians because of their background. It’s surprising to me one was unacceptable and the other gets a pass. I don’t get it tbh.

  6. The extra frustrating aspect of all this is, even while they’re actions are errant, we can’t even tell anymore what their driving logic is – are they doing this because they think it is the right thing to do to “punish Russia and Russians” or are they doing this because they know that the kind of people who pay attention to the Boston Marathon are also the kind of people that would punish them if they didn’t show “active solidarity” with Ukraine.

  7. This is one step away from barring Russian immigrants from participating, two steps from general ostracism of Russian immigrants, and three steps from internment.

    Not a slippery slope per se, but you should not need the slope to convince you to take one step back.


  8. I, for one, will continue to search out and consume Russian vodka, ad-lib. I will patronize the Russian Tea Room when in New York, continue reading Tolstoy, listen to Tchaikovsky, and watch Dr. Shivago, ad nauseam I will NOT subscribe to Disney Channel or attend its theme parks with or without children in tow.

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