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U.S. Fencers Wear Pink Masks, Apparently in Protest of Teammate Accused of Sexual Assault

Sports Illustrated logo Sports Illustrated 7/30/2021 Nick Selbe
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Members of the U.S. épée team wore pink masks on Friday, apparently in protest of their teammate who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

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Members of the U.S. men's épée team took an apparent stand against one of their teammates in their matchup against Japan on Friday, according to Yahoo Sports' Jason Owens. 

Three of the four fencers wore pink masks in a move that appears to be in protest of the fourth member of the team, Alen Hadzic. Hadzic has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, and is staying separate from the rest of the Olympic athletes. Hadzic was the only one of the four fencers to not wear a pink mask.

Hadzic is on the team as an alternate. Teammates Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez all wore pink masks when the team took the stage before facing Japan.

Hadzic did not compete, as the U.S. would go on to lose, 45-39, to ensure a ninth-place finish in Tokyo.

Hadzic has been accused by three different women of sexual misconduct on three separate occasions. USA Fencing has objected to Hadzic's presence in Tokyo, with CEO Kris Ekeren sending an email to Hadzic that was obtained by USA Today.

“Team athletes have expressed concerns for their safety and well-being arising from your presence, which they say are likely to adversely affect their mental and emotional abilities to prepare and compete at the highest levels required for success in the Olympic Games,” the email read. “Several have asked that USA Fencing put measures in place to keep them safe and minimize distractions from training and competition. Accordingly, USA Fencing, in conjunction with the USOPC, will implement a safety plan for the upcoming Olympic Games.”

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