from Rick Maese, Isabelle Khurshudyan and Andrew Roth of the Washington Post,
Ovechkin now finds himself awkwardly in the middle of a geopolitical maelstrom — perhaps by his own doing — tugged in multiple directions, just as he has been for much of his extraordinary career.
He has given an unwavering endorsement to a man who U.S. intelligence agencies say sanctioned Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election and whose athletes have drawn the ire of the international Olympic community for a state-sponsored doping scheme. At the same time, Ovechkin insists his advocacy is free of politics.
“I’m not a politic,” Ovechkin said in a recent interview. “I don’t know what’s happening out there. I know it’s a hard situation, but it is what it is. You know, I play here, and this is my second home. I don’t want to fight between two countries, because it’s going to be a mess.”
Ovechkin says the PutinTeam movement was his idea, though there are signs that a Kremlin-backed public-relations firm might have played a role.
much more, in-depth...