Athletes Won’t Be Able to Wear BLM Clothing at Tokyo Games


Black Lives Matter apparel is banned at the Summer Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee has announced, however, that while the BLM will be banned from athletes’ clothing, generic words like “peace,” “respect,” solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality” are allowed, the Washington Examiner noted.

Athletes could also face punishment if they violate the rule, with the committee saying it would review such violations on a case-by-case basis.

In a decision last month, the IOC Athletes’ Commission continued its ban on protests and political messages after a survey found that a majority of competitors were in favor of keeping the ban in place.

Raising a fist on the podium — like American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos famously did at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics — or taking a knee would still risk punishment at the Tokyo Games.

The IOC said it surveyed more than 3,500 athletes over the past year and that 70% said it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” on the field of play or at the opening or closing ceremony. The survey also showed 67% of respondents disapproved of podium demonstrations.

The Olympics will be hosted in Japan at the end of July after they were postponed last year amid the pandemic.

The new guidance on Black Lives Matter apparel comes after U.S. sports leagues vowed support for the organization, the Washington Examiner noted. 

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has said it won’t take action if athletes raise their fists or kneel during the national anthem at their event trials before Tokyo. 

Groups have promised legal support for athletes who protest. The World Players Association union said the IOC’s decision was a move it expected.

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