The American fencing team were beyond unhappy to have Alen Hadzic representing the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics. As soon as he made the roster, the 29-year-old was accused of sexual misconduct between 2013 and 2015 by three women. He denied those allegations and successfully appealed a suspension that would have kept him off the U.S. team.
On Friday, his teammates showed their displeasure by rocking pink face masks in support of sexual assault victims. It made for a striking image as Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Yeisser Ramirez appeared in the light-colored masks, while Hadzic was wearing black.
Jackie Dubrovich, an Olympic fencer who was in Tokyo, called the move by her teammates “PERFORMATIVE ACTIVISM” on Instagram. She called for accountability.
“THE PEOPLE/SYSTEMS WHO ENABLED & PROTECTED A VIOLENT PREDATOR ARE NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE,” she wrote. “FEMALE ATHLETES WERE NOT PROTECTED & OUR SAFETY WAS DEEMED UNIMPORTANT.”
Hadzic told USA Today that his teammates took a public stand against him without hearing his “side of the story.”
“They never asked me for my side of the story,” he told the outlet. “They never asked for evidence or how I felt.”
“I just remember thinking it would be kind of silly if I stood out there with a black mask and I asked them if they had an extra (pink) one, and they go, ‘Oh, no,'”
Hadzic had no clue what was happening until after when he received a photo.
“I just told (Hoyle) I was frankly embarrassed to be his teammate,” he said. “I was embarrassed to stand up there with him,” adding that he “chewed” Ramirez out.
“I told him it wasn’t cool.”
The American’s fell 45-39 to Japan in the men’s épée event.