[S]ome [host] governments commmit serious human rights violations in the very process of preparing for the games themselves. For example, China forcibly displaced some one million people in order to prepare facilities for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Brazil displaced many thousands in order to build new stadiums for the 2014 World Cup. Even if it is wrong to boycott in protest of “unrelated” human rights violations, the international sports community should not tolerate abuses that are an integral part of the sports event itself.
As I also point out the article, the best solution to this problem is to deny repressive regimes the right to host in the first place by bringing pressure on the International Olympic Committee and other similar bodies. The same goes for governments that plan to build stadium facilities by forcibly displacing large numbers of people. That way, we can avoid avoid painful trade-offs between defending human rights and giving athletes a chance to compete in events many have spent a lifetime preparing for.
UPDATE: I should note that I have become more sympathetic to the case for boycotts since I wrote this somewhat equivocal post about the subject, back in 2013.