Athletes have been prohibited from wearing clothing that features the “Black Lives Matter” slogan at the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are scheduled to begin in July, according to the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC intends to enforce Rule 50, a requirement that aims to “keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”
According to the IOC rule, “If an athlete or participant is in breach of Rule 50 and the Olympic Charter, each incident will be evaluated by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary.”
Last month, the IOC clarified what is and is not allowed.
The IOC “confirmed its long-standing ban on ‘demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda’ on the field of play, medal podiums or official ceremonies,” The Associated Press reported April 23.
“Raising a fist or kneeling for a national anthem could lead to punishment from the IOC. The Olympic body’s legal commission should clarify what kind of punishment before this year’s games.”
Those aren’t the only things that are banned.
“The IOC also said that slogans such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ will not be allowed on athlete apparel at Olympic venues, though it approved using the words ‘peace,’ ‘respect,’ ‘solidarity,’ ‘inclusion’ and ‘equality’ on T-shirts,” the AP reported.
Kirsty Coventry, the IOC’s Athletes’ Commission chief who headed a review of Rule 50, “said the majority of athletes consulted were against any protests within the fields of play or the podiums,” according to Reuters,
“The IOC’s recommendations are the result of a consultation process that started in June 2020 and involved over 3,500 athletes,” the outlet added.
“Coventry said some 70% of those athletes did not want protests on podiums, ceremonies and fields of play.”
Rule 50 applies at “all Olympic venues, including: On the field of play,” “In the Olympic Village,” “During Olympic medal ceremonies,” and “During the Opening, Closing and other official Ceremonies,” according to the IOC.
The guidelines also state, “Any protest or demonstration outside Olympic venues Any protest or demonstration outside Olympic venues must obviously comply with local legislation wherever local law forbids such actions.”
The decision stands in stark contrast to a statement from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in December 2020.
The committee bowed to requests from American athletes by announcing it would not “sanction them for raising their fists or kneeling on the medals stand at next year’s Tokyo Games and beyond,” according to the AP.
The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, “Olympians from the United States have yet to say whether they will protest at the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
The Olympic Games are set to open July 23.
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