New York, NY, February 14, 2020 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today called on USA Table Tennis (USATT) to accommodate the Jewish religious observance of an Orthodox teenager at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Table Tennis Team trials scheduled in Santa Monica, CA for later this month.
According to reports, Estee Ackerman, an Orthodox-Jewish teenager, likely will not be able to compete at the Olympic trials because one day of the four-day tournament falls on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. In January, Ackerman’s father sought a religious accommodation but was reportedly turned down by USATT.
“The Olympics are about embracing diversity in competition. Forcing Estee to choose between her faith and her lifelong dream is completely antithetical to that mission,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt wrote in a letter to Virginia Sung, CEO of USATT. “The rejection of Estee’s accommodation request is disrespectful of her faith and undermines the Olympic Trials being viewed as fair.”
USATT has until today to reverse its decision before the Saturday registration deadline.
"Securing a spot for the Olympics should be passed purely on skill and merit,” Greenblatt wrote. “We therefore urge your organization to reconsider its determination and make concerted efforts to allow Estee to compete.”