Athletes participating in next year’s Olympics will not be sanctioned for “peacefully and respectfully” demonstrating in support of social justice causes, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced Thursday.
The Hill reported that previous guidelines from the committee prohibited athletes from participating in any “kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Those guidelines have now been relaxed, at least for one particular type of political demonstration.
“First and foremost, it is critical to state unequivocally that human rights are not political, and peaceful calls for equity and equality must not be confused with divisive demonstrations,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement.
Hirshland pointed to several Team USA athletes who were reprimanded for protesting, saying the Olympic organization “should have supported instead of condemned, and advocated for understanding instead of relying on previous precedent.” Hirshland then apologized.
The athletes mentioned were John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who famously raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute after winning medals in 1968. Decades later, Smith claimed he was not making a “Black Power” salute, but a “human rights” salute.
Hirshland also mentioned Gwen Berry, a shot put and hammer throw Olympian who also raised her fist at the 2019 Pan American Games at the end of the national anthem and made disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump. During those same games, Race Imboden — who was also mentioned by Hirshland — knelt during the national anthem.
Such protests have been widely considered to be anti-American and particularly, anti-law enforcement under the guise of anti-racism. Anthem kneeling began with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose activism quickly spun into supporting Marxist and Socialist ideologies.
“The USOPC’s decision recognizes that Team USA athletes serve as a beacon of inspiration and unity globally, and their voices have and will be a force for good and progress in our society,” Hirshland said in her statement. “In the United States, we need to continue to use the platforms we have available to us to foster discussion, education and action for racial and social justice.”
Sports leagues that have allowed the kind of social justice protests the Olympic committee will now support have lost millions of views in 2020. The NBA’s ratings dropped significantly after the association began allowing athletes to wear approved social justice messages on their jerseys, The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo previously reported:
In addition to obstacles presented by the coronavirus, a report from City Journal outlined the staggering ratings hit of the NBA because of its left-wing activism, most recently wearing social justice-themed warmups and jerseys and even postponing playoff games over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“Americans have been falling progressively out of love with the NBA, for instance, and the pandemic has only exacerbated an already difficult situation,” the report says. “TV ratings, mediocre after the season restarted, are down collectively by 40 percent on the TNT network, and 20 percent on ESPN, since their peak nearly a decade ago.”
The report noted that the NBA’s “network TV premium broadcasts ratings on ABC are off by 45 percent,” which “a former public relations executive for the NBA describes as a ‘cratering’ of viewership,” per The Athletic.