FIBA Kicks the Can on Religious Rights for Sikh Basketball Players
For Immediate Release
Rajdeep Singh, Director of Law and Policy, email@example.com | (202) 747-4944
August 28, 2014 (Washington, DC) – The Sikh Coalition today expressed disappointment at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for delaying a highly anticipated decision on whether Sikh athletes can wear turbans.
According to a press release issued late yesterday by FIBA:
"On the subject of a review of the basketball rules regarding headgear, because of the importance of the matter, the Central Board decided that it requires further analysis before a final decision is made. Both the Technical and Legal Commissions shall study and present options to the Central Board."
Responding to worldwide criticism for forcing two Sikh athletes to stop wearing their turbans at a match in Japan, FIBA released a statement in July promising to address the issue at its August 27th Central Board meeting. In the run-up to yesterday’s meeting, however, a third Sikh athlete was forced to remove his turban at a match in Qatar.
Earlier this month, 21 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to FIBA calling for an end to the turban ban. Noting that the American NCAA allowed a Sikh athlete, Darsh Preet Singh, to wear a turban in accordance with his religion while playing college basketball for Trinity University, the Congressional letter labeled the turban ban “discriminatory” and asked FIBA’s Central Board to “carefully re-examine the existing policy with respect to Sikh turbans and support a change.”
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” said Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director for the Sikh Coalition. “For many decades, Sikh athletes have participated in competitive sports throughout the world, including NCAA basketball, while wearing their turbans. We are disappointed that FIBA has once again failed to use common sense, and we call on FIBA to stop discriminating against religious minorities.”