Tokyo Olympics bans social media teams from showing athletes taking knee during anthem

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers have banned their social media teams from posting pictures of athletes taking the knee at these Olympic Games.

The report, from The Guardian, comes hours after five women’s soccer teams kneeled prior to their matches. The USWNT, Sweden, Team Great Britain, Chile and New Zealand players all took a knee in protest of racism and online hate, which was broadcasted live on television. However, it was not shared on any of the IOC or Tokyo 2020 social medias. Social media teams were instructed to not share photos of such actions on Tuesday night, before the matches occurred, says The Guardian. 

On the second of July, the IOC announced it was easing its restrictions on athlete protests at the games through Rule 50. Rule 50 previously forbid athletes from making “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”. Athletes are now permitted to express their views on the field before the competition as long as their actions are not targeted against people, disruptive, or prohibited.

Protests in the Olympic village, during opening or closing ceremonies and on the medal stand are still prohibited. The USWNT is not unfamiliar with pushing limits. After NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016, soccer star Megan Rapinoe was one of the first athletes in another sport to follow suit. However, in February, the team resumed standing during the anthem, even though U.S. Soccer repealed its policy requiring players to do so. Crystal Dunn said the team was “doing the work behind the scenes.”

Team Great Britain and Chile were the first two teams to take a knee at the Olympics. Members of the men’s Great Britain team recently faced racist attacks following its loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. “As players in Great Britain, we’ve been taking a knee in club and international matches and we felt strongly as a group that we wanted to show support for those affected by discrimination and inequality,” Steph Houghton, one of Team Great Britain’s captains, said after the match.



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