The city of Boston is pretty excited about becoming the official U.S. bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
What you might not realize? It has no other choice.
According to a report from the Boston Globe, Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed an agreement with the USOC that prohibits city employees from making negative comments about the Olympics. The deal was signed just before Boston was announced as the official bid city.
The announcement is interesting given Boston's split opinion on whether to host the Olympics or not. A very slim majority of residents want to host the Olympics, but one-third of the city is solidly against the move.
Meanwhile, more and more examples of the economic risks of hosting an Olympics have tarnished the Summer Games as an event offering both prestige and financial flourish.
There are already signs that finances could be an issue. Boston's official budget for the Olympics was set at $4.7 billion, although its public statements before putting in the bid had pegged that number at $4.5 billion. Even then, many residents were worried about where that hefty financing would come from.
Mayor Walsh did come out and say that the agreement is one that any potential bid city had to sign. It's unclear what punishment, if any, would be administered to an employee who speaks negatively about the Olympics.
The mayor also insisted that the agreement is not an attempt to limit free speech. It's merely a matter of publicity and branding.
But employees were still very concerned, prompting Walsh to send an email to all 18,000 city workers that assured them they could say whatever they want about the Olympics -- positive or negative -- and would not face any punishment for doing so, according to the paper.
"I want to you to hear from me directly, I will not -- and will never -- limit your right to free speech," Walsh said.