The International Olympic Committee has decided that it will not allow any of its athletes to wear any clothing that sports the slogan “Black Lives Matter” during the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Committee has reiterated that it has plans to enforce “Rule 50,” which seeks to stop political or social justice protests of all kinds at the international athletic event to take place in just a few short weeks.
This past Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the IOC’s ruling against “slogans” with any political or social justice meaning is “granular” this year and that the IOC has targetted and specifically banned apparel sporting the racial justice mantra, “Black Lives Matter.”
“The International Olympic Committee got very granular with what is not allowed. It said specifically that the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ will be banned from athlete apparel at the Summer Olympics,” the AP stated. “It’s part of the IOC’s long-standing ban on ‘demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda’ on the playing field, the medal stand or during the Games’ official ceremonies.”
The IOC instead plans to press the athletes to wear clothing with more “generic words,” like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality,” as per the release.
Back in April, the IOC released a ruling that it will be planning to enforce its Rule 50 and that athletes who raise a fist or “take a knee,” which are both popular forms of protest in the United States, will be facing strong repercussions.
Rule 50 states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday announced that it will enforce its rule banning athletes from demonstrating at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, noting that kneeling or raising a fist will bring swift punishment,” the Daily Wire stated. “In a report explaining its decision, the IOC said it conducted a survey of more than 3,500 international athletes across the globe over the last year and found that ‘a clear majority of athletes believe that it is not appropriate for athletes to demonstrate or express their views’ during the Games.”
The IOC has not stated any specific form of punishment and repercussions for any athletes who violate Rule 50 and states that it will be determining appropriate punishments on a case-by-case system. However, if the IOC does indeed punish any athletes for demonstrating, The World Players Association, an international union for all athletes, has stated that it will stand in defense of the accused.
“Any athlete sanctioned at the Tokyo Olympics will have the full backing of the World Players,” the director of the union stated to the AP.
Global Athlete also released a statement on the subject stating that it would “not allow outdated ‘sports rules’ to supersede your basic human rights.”
“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,” Global Athlete stated to the AP. “It is this huge spectacle where the athletes are an afterthought.”