Sunday, January 9, 2022

Tennis Star Djokovic Held Captive in Australia?

Should the Serbian government send in elite commandos for a stealth rescue?

If you are a political leader or a celebrity, and you’re looking for some media attention, here’s a method that works every time.  Simply flaunt the pesky  rules that the rest of us obey. And then get caught. Remember when Governor Gavin Newsom was photographed dining out at a posh restaurant in violation of the COVID-19 safety protocol that he imposed on Californians?  Such behaviors only reinforce the recognition that many entitled folks believe that rules apply to the hoi polloi, but not to them.

Presently, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic is being detained in Melbourne, Australia after his visa was cancelled upon his arrival. There will be a court hearing tomorrow that will rule if the government can proceed with deportation. Djokovic, whose ranking is number one on the planet, arrived to compete in the Australian Open, one of tennis’s four major tournaments.  Djokovic is keen to compete since a win there would grant him the record of the most wins in singles in major tennis tournaments. 

Djokovic May Soon Be Hoppin' Back to the Airport!

Djokovic, who apparently has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, arrived having received a medical exemption for declining vaccination.  The Australian government has very specific criteria for what constitutes a medical exemption.  While it is true that he was granted an exemption, the waiver was granted by groups who have ties to the tennis tournament.  In other words, the exemption personnel may have had more fidelity to the tournament than they did to adhering to public health rules and restrictions.  Djokovic apparently was granted a medical waiver on the basis of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result last month.  However, the government does not recognize this as an exception and communicated this to the Australian tennis authorities in November 2021.  

Presumably, the Australian federal government has primacy with regard to COVID-19 and border entry policies.

Now, of course, the issue has been internationalized with Djokovic supporters in Serbia and elsewhere claiming he is being held captive.  He is free to leave at any time.

The Australian citizenry is inflamed at the prospect that an elite athlete is angling for special treatment.

Based on my knowledge of the issue, I anticipate that deportation will be deemed  lawful.   Djokovic may expect special treatment, but he deserves the same treatment and outcome that the rest of us would receive.  After all, an athlete of his stature and accomplishment should understand why rules and fairness are so important.

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