Sikhs Launch Viral Videos to Call
‘Foul’ on FIBA Turban Ban
For Immediate Release
Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy, firstname.lastname@example.org | (202) 747-4944
August 29, 2014 (Washington, DC) – On the eve of the FIBA World Cup, the Sikh Coalition has launched a viral video campaign to overturn the basketball federation’s high-profile ban on religious headcoverings. Basketball fans have already started posting videos of themselves shooting hoops—often while wearing turbans—and nominating friends to #CallFoulonFIBA.
WATCH: Viral Videos Protesting FIBA Turban Ban
Since July, FIBA officials have forced three Sikh athletes to stop wearing their turbans at matches in Japan and Qatar. Although the issue was expected to be resolved earlier this week at a meeting of FIBA’s Central Board, policymakers at the meeting decided to delay their decision without setting a timetable, leaving Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish basketball players throughout the world vulnerable to discrimination.
FIBA’s decision to leave Sikh athletes in limbo drew sharp condemnation yesterday from New York Congressman Joseph Crowley and California Congressman Ami Bera, who called the turban ban "outdated, discriminatory, and totally inconsistent with the ideals of team sports." Twenty-one Members of Congress previously sent a letter to FIBA to protest the turban ban, noting that the NCAA allowed a Sikh American athlete, Darsh Preet Singh, to wear a turban in accordance with his faith while playing college basketball for Trinity University in Texas.
“We are shocked by FIBA’s insensitivity but encouraged that our community is fighting back,” said Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director of the Sikh Coalition. “As Sikh Americans, we consider Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson to be our role models, and we want to continue their legacy by ending discrimination once and for all in competitive sports.”