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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has banned athletes from wearing Black Lives Matter apparel or kneeling at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo,
Per Revolt, the ruling is part of a long-standing ban on “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda.” Athletes will be permitted to wear “Black Lives Matter” slogans during some parts of the Olympics, including press conferences, interviews and team meetings, according to the report.
The IOC says athletes who violate the rules will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
“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,” IOC Athletes’ Commission Chief Kirsty Coventry said. “So, our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest, or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.”
As reported by SandraRose, the racial justice organization Color of Change opposes the IOC’s decision.
Athletes who protest the BLM ban will have the support of The World Players Association Union.
“Any athlete sanctioned at the Tokyo Olympics will have the full backing of the World Players,” said Brendan Schwab, the union’s executive director.
The organization Global Athlete has urged athletes to “not allow outdated ‘sports rules’ to supersede your basic human rights.”
Two-time Olympian Noah Hoffman, who is part of Global Athlete, said it’s time “elevate the voice of the international athlete.”
“We envision an Olympics where the athletes are the center of the show, more than the host country or the politics around it or the sponsors,” he said. “It is this huge spectacle where the athletes are an afterthought.”