The IOC revealed its newest policy changes last month, noting that no political demonstrations will be allowed on the field of play.
IOC officials have since confirmed that Olympics athletes will not be allowed to wear “Black Lives Matter” apparel during ceremonies at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.
According to the IOC, the ban comes as a result of a poll revealing a “majority” of the 3,500 athletes are in favor of strict rules against demonstrations.
“A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it’s not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium,” said Kirsty Coventry, IOC Athletes’ Commission Chief.
“We want to amplify the voices of athletes, and find more ways to support the values of the Olympic Games and what sport stands for. This consultation was a very important process for us and is part of the ongoing dialogue with the athlete community. We are delighted that the IOC [Executive Board] fully supported our proposals,” she continued.
Although athletes using sports as a platform to highlight societal issues is not new, the Olympics have always held a firm position on intermingling sports and politics.
Many will point to the occasion where African Americans, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their gloved fists in a human rights protest at the 1968 Olympics. Although the podium protest may have been an unforgettable historic moment, the two gold-medalists were expelled. International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage, himself an American, deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were intended to be.
The Olympics will now BAN any athlete who wears a BLM shirt, kneels during the national anthem or raises a fist to oppose racism. This sends the WRONG message about basic human rights & I urge the Olympic Committee to reverse this decision! https://t.co/Arfbpr32UQ
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) May 5, 2021
Since the announcement, calls have increased in recent months for a change to that rule to allow athletes to protest. Ben Crump, civil rights attorney and representative of the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, criticized the decision in a tweet.
“The Olympics will now BAN any athlete who wears a BLM shirt, kneels during the national anthem or raises a fist to oppose racism. This sends the WRONG message about basic human rights & I urge the Olympic Committee to reverse this decision!”
While many on the left see this as a violation of human rights and speech, several others are happy to see that the Olympics will solely be focused on the events instead of societal issues.
FINALLY! A sporting event without politics! https://t.co/2l6inIeopy
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) May 5, 2021
In a poll conducted this month, 46 percent of U.S. adults favored the IOC’s plan to punish athletes for protesting or demonstrating, including 53 percent of those who said they expect to watch “some” of the Tokyo Games and 59 percent of those who anticipated watching “a lot” of the coverage, according to Morning Consult/Adweek.
For 126 years, Rule 50 of the Olympic charter has prohibited athletes from protesting or other politically-motivated demonstrations during the Games. While many policies and cultural norms are changing throughout the world every day, it’s refreshing to see that there are still people that are willing to stand courageously in the face of criticism and the woke mob.
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