The U.S. Olympics and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has taken a progressive stance and will allow athletes to advocate in support of racial and social justice at upcoming Olympic trials.
Tuesday, the USOPC outlined new demonstration rules in a detailed nine-page document sent to athletes and the Olympic community.
The rules outline what USOPC classifies as “permissible demonstrations” aimed at “advancing racial and social justice or promoting the human dignity of individuals or groups that have been historically underrepresented, minoritized or marginalized,” a news release reads.
Among the given examples of permissible demonstrations include:
- “Wearing a hat or face mask with phrases such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Trans Lives Matter’ or words such ‘equality’ or ‘justice.'”
- “Holding up one’s fist at the start line or on the podium.”
- “Kneeling on the podium or at the start line during the national anthem.”
Monday, OutKick’s Bobby Burack discussed the negative impact that “woke” social messaging has had on sports:
Because of aggressive woke messaging, three times as many Americans watched sports less often than those who watched them more often, 34.5 percent to 11 percent. 56.3 percent say they watched about the same amount. Though not quite 50-50, the number of those who changed habits was undoubtedly represented in total viewership declines.
Ratings across all major sports were down in 2020. The NBA, the most political among them, lost over half of its audience in the NBA Finals, a Finals that featured its top individual and team draw, LeBron James and the Lakers. That’s not viewers watching less often, that’s viewers not watching at all.
In an Open Letter to Team USA athletes, the rules document provides a list of demonstrations and activities that will not be punished by the USOPC.
These activities will also not affect an athlete’s participation rights at a U.S. Olympic or Paralympic Trials event, the document reads.
The guidelines also outline criteria related to impermissible acts that advocate against people, their dignity or their rights, including – but not limited to – hate speech, racist propaganda or threatening, abusive or discriminatory remarks, or physical harm to others or to property.
The new rules outline possible sanctions for violations to ensure athlete participation rights are upheld.
“Athletes who engage in a demonstration may continue competing until a full review and hearing is conducted,” the document states.
The USOPC states it reserves the right to immediately remove athletes if a demonstration puts them or others in danger, threatens to
damage property or is in violation of local laws.
The rules will apply to all future U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Trials events but are not applicable to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the website states.
Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, said in an Open Letter that USOPC supports Team USA athletes’ right to demonstrate peacefully in support of racial and social justice, but said they can’t control the actions others may take in response.
“The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) values the expression of Team USA athletes and believes that their right to advocate for racial and social justice, and be a positive force for change, absolutely aligns with the fundamental values of equality that define Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” the document details.