U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Softening On Protest Ban In Time for 2021 Games

December 10th, 2020 12:12 PM

American Race Imboden kneeling during 2018 Pan American GamesThe U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) wants in the club, the Black Lives Matter-style protest club, along with the cool people – the NBA, WNBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. If the International Olympic Committee agrees, American athletes will have the green light to embarrass their country during the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo starting July 23.

In a news release issued this morning, the USOPC called on the International Olympic Committee to “end the prohibition of peaceful demonstrations” on the international stage. Henry Bushnell, of Yahoo Sports, reported it this morning.

This is a negative sea change for the USOPC, which previously had reprimanded athletes for podium protests. At the 2018 Pan American Games U.S. fencer Race Imboden kneeled during the national anthem (see photo above) and hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist in defiance of America.

Under Rule 50, the IOC opposes protests on Olympic podiums and during competition. Athletes and the USOPC are pressuring the IOC to abolish this rule that interferes with social justice warriors soiling sporting events.

The crumbling of U.S. resistance to international protests was virtually guaranteed when the spineless USOPC recently established a racial and social justice council. That’s just what was needed, much more than any efforts to curtail doping cyclists and steroid abusers in track and field. That’s just petty stuff compared to the right to carry the torch for BLM in Japan next year.

In the council’s news release today, the USOPC says “athletes should have the right to peacefully protest and demonstrate against racial and social injustices and to promote human dignity through global sport.”

The USOPC is calling on the IOC to update guidelines to allow for peaceful actions that specifically advocate for human rights and racial and social justice and distinguishes those acts from “divisive demonstrations” like hate speech, racist propaganda, political statements and discrimination.

USOPC President Susanne Lyons chimed in with full-throated support, stating in the news release:

“We believe that Team USA athletes, in line with athletes and teams in many other sports and leagues in the United States, can be a leading force for global good, and we are proud to advocate for the advancing opportunities and pathways for respectful athlete expression within our sports community. Supporting this important work on behalf of Team USA athletes is a next step in our ongoing commitment to empowering the voice of athletes and living Olympic and Paralympic values. We look forward to collaborating further with our athletes, friends and partners around the world to fully harness the unifying power of sport."

Did she really say unifying? Protest hasn’t exactly unified American sports consumers, who are increasingly thumbing their noses at televised NFL and NBA games.

Nonetheless, the USOPC will no longer sanction American athletes for respectfully demonstrating in support of racial and social justice for all human beings. The Olympics are now at risk of alienating viewers, too. But no matter, today’s development is a great We Are the World moment for sports … the politically correct, social justice, BLM world. Another sports jurisdiction conquered. Add USOPC to the club.