Racial justice organizations are livid that the International Olympic Committee barred Black Lives Matter apparel or kneeling at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The Olympic Games has long barred protests during the Games. Athletes who failed to comply with the rule faced expulsion from the Games.
The committee will allow apparel with the words like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion” and “equality.”
Athletes are banned from wearing apparel featuring the words “Black Lives Matter, along with kneeling or raising a fist.
American sprinters Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) made headlines when they raised their fists at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The gesture was a symbolic protest against racism in the United States. Smith, the gold medal winner, and Carlos, the bronze medal winner, were subsequently suspended from the Olympic team.
Racial justice organization Color of Change voiced its opposition to the IOC’s decision.
The organization called on Olympics sponsors to “keep your promises to Black communities.”
“The IOC’s oppressive policies cannot stand, especially when its corporate sponsors issued statements supporting Black lives. @CocaCola, @Visa, @Hersheys, @Toyota, @ProcterGamble, @RalphLauren, @Samsung: it’s time to keep your promises to Black communities.”
BANNED: wearing the phrase “Black Lives Matter”
BANNED: taking a knee or raising a fist
The IOC’s policies are a direct assault on the free expression of Black athletes by a commission that includes no Black members. https://t.co/N7kFvrxNO1
— ColorOfChange (@ColorOfChange) April 23, 2021