Boston City Employees Barred From Hating On Olympics; Mayor Says Free Speech Still Intact

from the bwah? dept

The Olympics: an every other year experiment in curtailing the rights of its hosts while draining those hosts of as much money as possible. It's apparently gotten so bad that essentially nobody actually wants to host the olympic games. Those still relentlessly putting in bids to bring on this multi-nation quagmire of garbage probably don't care all that much that the IOC and its smaller sub-parts are money-grubbing, number-trademarking, viewer-hating megalomaniacs that quite possibly lack what we refer to as souls and may or may not be fully-manufactured Hitler-clones. But if they do care about those things, they better not say so, according to what is apparently boiler-plate legal language in Boston's agreement with the USOC.

Nobody who lives in Boston actually wants the city to win its bid for the 2024 Olympic games. And yet, in a joinder agreement between the city and the United States Olympic Committee, mayor Marty Walsh has signed a contract that forbids city employees from speaking negatively about the bid, the IOC, or the Olympic games. It's a great day for free speech in the cradle of liberty.
Boston, home of the Boston Massacre and the tea party revolt, the city from whence the USS Constitution launched, the home of both President John Adams', has decided to suspend their employees' free speech rights in favor of hosting a corporate sporting event packed with more authoritarian bullshit than your average Middle East dictatorship. Let that sink in for a moment.

Or, if you're like Boston's Mayor, Marty Walsh, just dust that crap off your shoulder cuz it's no big deal, yo.
"Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees and, as residents of Boston, he fully supports them participating in the community process. This was standard boilerplate language for the Joinder Agreement with the USOC that all applicant cities have historically signed. The Mayor looks forward to the first citywide community meeting that will be held next week."
The Mayor has also claimed that there would absolutely be no punishment for city workers who decided to express their feelings about the Olympics being a big bucket of money-sucking dogshit, but contracts are contracts, so they may not be inclined to test Walsh's honesty on that point. So I'll do it for them. The Olympics sucks. Just read it in a Boston accent.


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  • identicon
    jackn, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:32pm

    Best headline ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:35pm

    "Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees and, as residents of Boston, he fully supports them participating in the community process. This was standard boilerplate language for the Joinder Agreement with the USOC that all applicant cities have historically signed. The Mayor looks forward to the first citywide community meeting that will be held next week."

    -Boston - the city that follows other cities.

    probably not the message they intended to convey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:43pm

    I am amazed at how Darconian the IOC will go to make it seem that everyone wants the Olympics in there city, if you ever have seen the contractual language in an IOC agreement, you'd think the copyright trolls looked like amateurs compared to the IOC.

    The Olympics long ago stopped being about the sport and are about how much you will fork over to the IOC to have the privilege to host the Olympics in your city.

    I won't even get into all of the bribes that IOC officials take in during the selection process. Ever wonder what happens to all the money that a city gives the IOC or the money they make from networks to be an official broadcaster, or the money from merchandising?

    It doesn't go to the athletes, it doesn't go to countries that participate to help their sports programs and further the sport and to help the athletes.

    Nope that cash stays gets distributed to key officials in the IOC coffers. The IOC is crooked as they come in my opinion

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TruthHurts (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:45pm

    Boston Voters - do a public recall of the mayor and other officials

    Get them all out of office, and have the newly elected officials retract the submission and recant the illegal contract.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    limbodog (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 1:50pm

    Well then

    >Boston, home of the Boston Massacre

    Can you imagine how awkward it would have been if the Boston Massacre had occurred in New Jersey?

    >Nobody who lives in Boston actually wants the city to win its bid for the 2024 Olympic games.

    Truer words have never been spoken. Keep those damnable Olympics out of my city. Build a permanent site in Greece to be used every time and stop bankrupting communities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 3:05pm

      Re: Well then

      I wonder how many people think the massacre refers to the recent bombing and not what helped spark the revolution

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Name, 23 Jan 2015 @ 5:58pm

        Re: Re: Well then

        Those would be the same twenty-somethings more concerned about the under-inflated balls of the Patriots. They also missed the Twitter post from Iran.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:02pm

    Section 1.01 of the contract states that "The City has all necessary power and authority to enter into and deliver this Agreement." Seems like they're already in breech, since they can't legally enforce the speech codes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:14pm

      Re:

      Section 2.07 states that city may not disclose the terms of the agreement. (This, like pretty much everything else in the contract, is a one-way clause restricting the city but not the Olympics.) They may not be in breech because there is an exception if the disclosure is required by law, and someone may have filed an FOIA request.

      But there is no valid reason for anyone to want to keep the terms secret. There's no competitor to the Olympics that they would need to keep secrets from. The only reason I can see to keep these terms secret is that they are horrible for the city, which agrees to joint liability for any actions of the Bid Committee, restricts the speech of its employees, and gets more or less nothing in return except the possibility - not even the certainty - of being one of several cities that are even considered by the IOC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:11pm

    Anti Fan

    When I was (much) younger, I wanted so badly to attend both the summer and winter olympics (not capitalized on purpose). Not any more, even if for free. Besides the obnoxious antics of the IOC, there appears to be much corruption in the scoring of events, along with a whole lot of under-discovered chemical enhancements.

    Now if they got their act together...not holding my breath or even hope.


    Oh, and I like the pre-Godwinized aspect of the post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:18pm

    I'm pretty sure they aren't Hitler clones...
    ....Hitler hated the Olympics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:26pm

    Two points

    "Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees and, as residents of Boston, he fully supports them participating in the community process. This was standard boilerplate language for the Joinder Agreement with the USOC that all applicant cities have historically signed. The Mayor looks forward to the first citywide community meeting that will be held next week."


    What the Mayor is saying here is that Boston does not take it's contractual agreements seriously. "It's just boilerplate" in no way means it's not part of the agreement. I would think that the USOC would view this as a much worse thing than city employees criticizing the Olympics.

    Secondly, since when does "all the other cities did it" count as anything like a reason why it is acceptable or that it isn't an infringement on freedom of speech.

    (I note that nowhere in his explanation does he explain how it's not infringing on free speech rights)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ben (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:39pm

      Re: Two points

      I think the distinction is between people speaking as employees of Boston vs speaking as individuals.

      This restricts the Boston Police Commissioner from saying that hosting the Olympics would be a disaster, but William B. Evans (who happens to be the current commissioner) could express that opinion; I guess it would depend on HOW he expressed his opinion.

      I think a Boston Olympics would be a disaster; I don't work for Boston or the state, but I just live in the area. There is no way to do it "on the cheap" and it will leave behind so many white elephants that Boston will be saddled with (or should that be howdah'd with...) that it will ruin the city's financials for the long term.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Two points

        "I think a Boston Olympics would be a disaster"

        I think this is obviously very likely, based on what happens to most cities that host the olympics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:34am

      Re: Two points

      "It's just boilerplate" in no way means it's not part of the agreement.

      I was wondering what he meant by that. It's boilerplate, so we don't have to actually follow it? It's boilerplate, so we had no choice and had to agree to it? And as you said, nothing in hi explanation actually addressed the issue of free speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    hij (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:30pm

    Boilerplate language for the win

    I had no idea that the "boiler plate" stuff in a contract did not actually matter. Next time I sign a contract I *really* need to make sure we specify which part is the boiler plate stuff and which part is the actual contract. This contract stuff is far more confusing that I originally thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:35pm

    Never understood how a contract trumps a constitutional amendment.

    What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't own guns?
    What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't vote?
    What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party is now my slave(s)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      Of course the contract doesn't trump the Constitution. But it might mean the the Olympics goes after Boston for insane amounts of money for breaching the contract, since they explicitly said they had the power to enter into it and did not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Applesauce, 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:56pm

        Re: Re:

        AC said: "Of course the contract doesn't trump the Constitution. But it might mean the the Olympics goes after Boston for insane amounts of money for breaching the contract, since they explicitly said they had the power to enter into it and did not."

        This would make an interesting case. On the one hand, Boston signed a contract promising things (restricting speech) that they knew would be illegal to deliver. OTOH, The IOC knew or should have known that Boston could not make an unconstitutional promise. BOTH parties entered into a contract fraudulently.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 3:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Technically the other party is the USOC and not the IOC, but yeah. In fact, it being the USOC makes your point MORE valid, since a US organization should be familiar with the First Amendment while an international one might not be.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't own guns?
      What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't vote?
      What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party is now my slave(s)?


      You can certainly sign an agreement not to do something that is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. For example, depending on the exact terms, non-disclosure agreements can be enforceable even though you have the right to freedom of speech. I would guess it would be possible to enter into a valid contract to not own guns for some period of time. Not voting I'm not so sure. Obviously slavery would be an unconscionable term and not a valid contract.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      It's pretty simple, really. Since the Constitution is about what the government can or cannot do, it doesn't really have a lot to say about what private entities can contract over.

      "What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't own guns?"

      Perfectly legal.

      "What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party can't vote?"

      Perfectly legal.

      "What if I wrote up a contract that said the other party is now my slave(s)?"

      Not legal. A contract cannot stipulate actions or conditions which are against the law in and of themselves. Owning slaves is illegal, so any contract that includes such a term is a legally invalid contract.

      The other two terms are fine because it's perfectly legal to not own a gun or to not vote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        WorBlux, 26 Jan 2015 @ 10:20am

        Re: Re:

        The contract to not vote would likely be considered void as being against public polity, and unenforceable anyways as the content of the ballot is privileged. You can't be compelled to testify whether the ballot you put in the box actually contained any votes or not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 2:59pm

    Isn't this just another word for fascism? In that your free to only speak what we tell you to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2015 @ 6:48am

      Re:

      Just ask the recently fired fire chief in Atlanta.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      It's not fascism. The key defining feature of fascism is the effective merging of corporations and government. That's why "corporatism" is a reasonable synonym for "fascism".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 9:01am

        Re: Re:

        Now that I've thought twice, perhaps I was too quick to judge. The Olympics is a large, private corporation -- so this would be an example of the merger between government and corporation. So this would be fascism, after all (at least, if we ignore the other defining features of fascism.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 3:55pm

    I've dealt with the USOC and IOC

    In fact, I have an award from the IOC hanging on my wall. (Not that I think they were particularly enthused: they managed to spell my name wrong. Cut and paste, guys; cut and paste.)

    Both organizations are completely overrun by greed, ego, and control freak tendencies that border on the clinically insane. The idea of nations putting aside their differences to compete in an athletic setting is a fine one, but it's gotten lost. The Olympics now routinely spend far more on the opening ceremony theatrics than on athlete accomodations. They hold back an incredible number of tickets for sponsors, politicians, lawyers, celebrities -- the powerful and rich -- which of course means charging insane prices to everyone else. Parents, siblings and other relatives of athletes often can't manage to see them compete -- because the cost is prohibitive.

    Every country tries to juggle which sports are on the program and how many athletes will be allowed based on what they think their chances of medaling are...but this is balanced by what the IOC thinks will maximize TV ratings. This is why you see sports come and go every few games or so: it's usually cloaked in very-well crafted language. Sponsors influence this too, e.g., those whose markets are heavily American don't want to pay for commercial time during team handball; those which are heavily Nordic will pay big for time during ski jumping and hockey. And so on.

    Why do you think pros are now allowed to participate? Follow the money.

    It's really a mess. Which is a pity, as some of the athletes are amazingly talented, hardworking, nice people who are just trying to spend part of their lives living a dream, trying to see how far they can push themselves. And it's inspiring to see the results of that.

    But it's well past time to write off the Olympics and just start another event with FAR less pomp and fanfair. Have it once a year (so that there are more opportunities), move it around the world, have as many sports as possible, and let the athletes themselves be the organizers. They know how -- they really do. And let the rest of us, if we like, pay a sensible price to watch the show. No rings. No rigged bid process. No corporate overtake. No bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:40am

      Re: I've dealt with the USOC and IOC

      In fact, I have an award from the IOC hanging on my wall.

      Why display such a thing publicly?

      But it's well past time to write off the Olympics and just start another event with FAR less pomp and fanfair.

      The pomp and fanfare are not the problem IMO.

      No rigged bid process. No corporate overtake. No bullshit.

      Now you're talking!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 3:56pm

    LA and Lake Placid (or Salt Lake City)

    Let's just pick two cities that have shown they can run the Olympics, and keep it there. No sense rebuilding the facilities every four years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 8:27pm

      Re: LA and Lake Placid (or Salt Lake City)

      the IOC refuse to host the Olympics at any city they have previously. Salt lake city offered and they were refused

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Call me Al, 23 Jan 2015 @ 12:58am

        Re: Re: LA and Lake Placid (or Salt Lake City)

        Yeah that isn't remotely true. Look up how often London and Paris have hosted it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re: LA and Lake Placid (or Salt Lake City)

        Perhaps they refuse Salt Lake City because the level of corruption that was involved the last time the Olympics was there exceeded even the Olympics' tolerance.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DOlz (profile), 22 Jan 2015 @ 4:09pm

    I live in the Washington, DC suburbs and I (and everyone I know) was sooooo happy when we were taken out of the running to host.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:37pm

    FOIA is your friend

    > This was standard boilerplate language for the Joinder Agreement with the USOC that all applicant cities have historically signed.

    This is a statement eminently provable through FOIA requests, one per US city that has ever hosted an Olympic event.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 5:39pm

    I live in boston and I can see why most people would hate on the Olympics coming to town.

    For one, all of our streets are based on animal trails laid down by native americans and thus we are riddled with infinite loops such as detours directing you towards other detours which ultimately lead you towards the initial detour that got you stuck to begin with.

    Not only that, we're riddle with one way streets that effectively do the same things as the above.

    This all of course feeds into aggressive driving in which you can't drive down any street without coming across ten assholes who are at the end of their rope due to the above...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:51pm

    Add in the eminent domain part of the puzzle

    And you have homeless city employees can't badmouth the olympics

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2015 @ 4:44am

    In defense of hosting the Olympics, the '84 games in L.A. indirectly gave us Die Hard.
    I can't think of anything else, but c'mon... Die Hard!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2015 @ 8:11am

      Re:

      Anyone care to explain the link cuz I don't see it...??

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 23 Jan 2015 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        I'd like to know as well. I was unaware that there was any sort of link between Die Hard and the Olympics.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2015 @ 11:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          While the story varies a bit from one telling to the next, the general idea is that Bruce Willis took time off from bartending/acting in NY to catch some of the Games in L.A. (and to visit his girlfriend). He got a guest-star spot on an episode of Miami Vice, which kept him working in the area long enough to audition for Moonlighting against 3000 other guys. Result? Perfect role, overnight success, and boom, Die Hard.

          Of course, every single story about everything and anything that's ever happened in the universe involves random events and seemingly improbable timing (the whole Goldilocks thing). Still, I was trying to find something good to say about the Olympics, and this stretch was the best I could do.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    c, 23 Jan 2015 @ 10:32am

    test

    test

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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