After a year’s delay due to the pandemic, it looks like we’re going to have Olympic games after all, but not without some controversy. Tokyo Olympics athletes will NOT be allowed to rock any “Black Lives Matter” apparel at the ceremonies this summer.
Committee officials for the Tokyo Olympics say barring athletes from wearing messages supporting the BLM movement is part of the ban on protests and political messages, TMZ reports.
The policy was revealed two weeks ago, with a focus on prohibiting demonstrations on the field of play, during an official ceremony, or at the podium. It’s now understood that BLM apparel has been included in that ban.
Officials say, however, that BLM slogans will be allowed during press conferences and interviews, as well as team meetings, but it’s clear that if athletes are seen wearing the messages during official ceremonies, they could be subject to punishment.
Olympic officials say the ban on protesting was put in place after a “majority” of 3,500 athletes they polled were in favor of strict rules against demonstrations. Who’s to say how many American athletes and athletes of color were included in that poll, though.
“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.”
Officials didn’t specify what kind of punishment athletes will be subject to if they break the rules, but for now, it’s all going to be determined on a case-by-case basis, they said.
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