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Friday, August 9, 2013
Updated: August 11, 10:37 AM ET
Obama rejects boycott of Olympics

ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says it would be wrong to boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi despite frustrations with Russia.

At a White House news conference Friday, Obama said that American athletes are training hard and it wouldn't be fair to deny them the chance to compete in the Games next February.

Obama says he has been offended by Russia's new law cracking down on gay rights activism that sports officials have said would be enforced during the Games.

Russia's law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and sets fines for those who hold gay pride rallies. It is a growing issue leading up to the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Also Friday, NBC assured its gay and lesbian employees who may cover the Winter Olympics in Sochi that it will do everything possible to keep them safe following Russia's passage of anti-gay law.

The network said in a memo that it finds Russia's law and the prejudices it represents to be "deeply troubling and diametrically opposed to everything that the Olympics symbolize." The note by Craig Robinson, NBC Universal's executive vice president and chief diversity officer, was sent Thursday to all company employees who have identified themselves as gay or lesbian.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.