Is it fair and licit to penalise Russian athletes by linking them to their government?

There is no doubt that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has already reached its climax. Havoc has spread worldwide and the main powers are fighting to stop the invasion  immediately. In their attempt to do so, Russia is becoming overcome and chastised, including the Russian athletes. This makes us wonder, should athletes be punished for carrying the nationality of a country whose leader has taken his own decisions, without even considering the citizens?

It is evident that Russian president Vladimir Putin has followed his own instincts and continued with his plan of conquering Ukraine, despite being warned of going to have severe reprisals. This has led to chaos among European nations, as well as the United States, trying to figure out what could stop the war. The result? Fearsome consequences, among them, leading figures in the sports sector. An instance of this is Abramovich, the president of Chelsea Football Club. He has been suspended by the UE arguing that he had established contact with Putin. However, what about Mazepin, the Formula 1 driver? Why can’t he carry the flag of his country while being in the races? From our point of view, this is unacceptable.

The athletes did not initiate the conflict. They’re just going about their business. When you compete in a sport and represent your country, you are representing your country, not the organisation or government that is doing it. As a result, they are not responsible for the actions of the country they represent. Besides that, we don’t know if they even share Putin’s ideology. They’re just performing their job, which is sports. Some of the athletes are using the sport to vindicate themselves. However, we commonly disregard the fact that the Ukrainians are not the only ones who suffer; some Russians are also being affected. In any case, Putin’s conduct should be reconsidered without a doubt. Therefore, we can understand that the only possible solution is to weaken the economy, but under no circumstances should innocent people get affected.

To sum up, when thinking about how inconsiderate the powers are, using individuals as simple means to whom collateral effects may well change their whole world, we are accomplishing, as well as letting pass, a narcissistic and dehumanising act on our society. And in doing so, a question comes to our minds, if this doesn’t stop Putin, who will be the other victims?