A day after it was proven that the sports world played a part in the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, and just hours after police in Ohio murdered 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, the International Olympic Committee decided to keep the ban on athletes protesting racial and social issues at the Tokyo Games after a survey discovered that the majority of competitors were in favor of keeping the mandate intact.
If you were ever dumb enough to believe that racism was just an American problem, then this is proof that people all across this globe hate Black people.
Kneeling and fist-raising will lead to punishment, which is – I guess – the equivalent to when Heisman winners, coaches, and programs get their trophy/wins vacated in college, as if we didn’t watch them win. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist on the podium at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, America was in the middle of its most turbulent decade, while Mexico had to move the games to a later date due to the government massacring student protestors. Fast forward to today, and athletes of all races have things to bring awareness to on the podium, especially as the games are about to take place during a global pandemic.
According to reports, over 3,500 athletes were surveyed and 70 percent of them felt it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” on the field of play or at the opening or closing ceremony. This also included 67 percent of them feeling similarly about podium demonstrations. Just last month, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced that they were cool with demonstrations and will allow them during Team USA trials before the Olympics.
“While we support your right to demonstrate peacefully in support of racial and social justice, we can’t control the actions others may take in response,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland wrote in a statement.
With the rules set in place, it will be up to the athletes to decide if they want to break them, as the IOC hasn’t decided what the punishment will be. But, what the IOC doesn’t realize is that this decision will just fuel the athletes that were considering taking part in a demonstration. History has proven that it will be on their side. At worst they could be stripped of medals that they won. And at best, they’ll be immortalized like the pioneers that came before.