A Patriot's Dilemma

Jonathan Quick has come to a patriotic crossroads. He is a National Hockey League goalkeeper and a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey team. He loves America and the people who defend her.

The International Olympic Committee will contend that the American Eagle decal bearing the phrase, "Support Our Troops", on Quick's helmet violates an Olympic Games ban on political propaganda and "advertising".

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - U.S. netminder Jonathan Quick will be ordered to remove the slogan 'Support Our Troops' from his helmet for contravening Olympic rules on political propaganda, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said on Monday.

Quick needs to make a decision. Quickly. Defy the IOC and his sport's international federation and sit out the Games in Vancouver in defense of his support for American troops (certainly a courageous option). Or, remove the handsome decal, which certainly does not come even close to being "propaganda" or "advertising".

Conversely, Olympic athletes are permitted to adorn uniforms and headgear with their nation's flags -- flags that are, in some cases, specifically designed to promote religious and political ideals.

The design at the center of Iran's flag is symbolic of the phrase, "There is no god but Allah." (Four Iranian athletes are competing in Vancouver).

The Scandinavian cross that dominates Norway's flag represents Christianity.

These are but two examples. If it is acceptable to "advertise" two divergent religious viewpoints by wearing a flag logo on a uniform, or raising a flag above an Olympic Village, why is it unacceptable to support a military dedicated to advancing and preserving democracy, and saving innocent lives, around the world?

Either decision by Quick will be understandable. He would honor American troops by leaving the Games. He also honors his country by representing the USA as an Olympian.

But only one decision will elevate Quick to American hero. I'm certain no one need advise him which decision that is.