Scott Blackmun, CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), said this week that athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi should “comply” with a Russian anti-gay law.

The law recently signed by President Vladimir Putin prohibits the positive portrayal of gay men and lesbians in a public setting where minors might be present. It has created a worldwide outcry, calls for a boycott of next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, and has increased tension between the United States and Russia.

“The athletes are always going into countries with laws different than his or her own country,” Blackmun told Russia's R-Sport. “They're going to agree with those laws in some ways, they're going to disagree with those laws in other ways. It's our strong desire that our athletes comply with the laws of every nation that we visit. This law is no different.”

In a series of tweets, USOC communications director Patrick Sandusky expanded on Blackmun's remarks, saying that the USOC does not “endorse the law.”

“At every Olympics, [we] ask athletes to respect the laws of the host country for their safety,” Sandusky tweeted. “Doesn't mean we endorse the law … it's inconsistent w fundamental Olympic principles and we have shared our view w IOC.”

Blackmun echoed those sentiments in a letter last week to the Olympic and Paralympic community. BuzzFeed was first to publish the letter.

“We strongly support equal rights for all and believe that laws restricting the right to act and speak in support of the LGBT community are inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the Olympic and Paralympic movements. We have shared our views with the IOC. At the same time, however, we cannot forget that we are first and foremost a sports organization. Our mission is to help enable American athletes to win medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Our overriding obligation is to deliver a well-prepared team and to support our athletes, all of them. That is where we will direct our energies,” Blackmun wrote in part.