IOC & Tokyo 2020 Ban Social Media Teams From Showing Kneeling Athletes

According to a report from The Guardian, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have prohibited their social media teams from posting pictures of athletes taking a knee.

The move comes after five soccer teams took advantage of loosened free expression rules by taking a knee on the field before the start of their opening Olympic matches this week.

The Guardian cites an “insider” who says the ban was “delivered from on high Tuesday evening Tokyo time.” Media around the world reported on the protests and published photos of the athletes kneeling, but none of those photos appeared on any official websites or social media channels of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics themselves.

Per The Guardian:

“An insider told the Guardian they found the IOC’s stance odd given the organisation celebrates iconic pictures of protest – including Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists to protest against the unfair treatment of black people in the United States at the 1968 Olympics.”

The blackout on protest photos muddles what had previously looked like a clear step towards free expression by the IOC. Previously, Rule 50 of the IOC charter had permitted athletes to express themselves in media interviews, but not on the field of play. As athletes, fans and observers pushed back against the unpopular rule, the IOC updated its policies to allow free expression on the field of play, but only before competition begins and as long as the expression is “consistent with the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”

The rules still prohibit expressions, protests, and political statements on the podium, a taboo likely to be tested in the coming weeks in Tokyo. Allowing on-field protests helped address some of the concerns that the IOC was stifling expression by limiting protests to the least-visible parts of the Olympic venue. But the IOC’s blackout on those images appearing anywhere in official media postings undercuts that visibility component significantly.

One important development to watch this week will be whether Olympic TV broadcasters (not direct outlets of the IOC or the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but Olympic partners) will show athletes kneeling, or whether they will mirror the official IOC/Tokyo 2020 policy of not publicizing any evidence of protests.

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Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

Great decision!

Sam B
Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
2 months ago

a win for racist folks and for people afraid of the truth

Hoosier Daddy
Reply to  Sam B
2 months ago

More like a win for anyone who respects their country and is grateful for the opportunity to represent it!

You Don’t Say
2 months ago

Gasp:-0 Look away children!

HJones
2 months ago

Is it so wrong to want an apolitical sporting event?

swimapologist
Reply to  HJones
2 months ago

It certainly isn’t.

But the Olympics have never been apolitical, so in fact what you’re requesting is a deviation from millenia of tradition.

Anonymoose
Reply to  swimapologist
2 months ago

not disagreeing but millenia? modern olympics started a little over 100 years ago and are quite different than the original og right

Emg1986
Reply to  HJones
2 months ago

I mean, why don’t you just ignore it? I don’t understand why players kneeling bothers people so much.

dresselgoat
Reply to  Emg1986
2 months ago

I don’t understand why you think you can tell someone to ignore something that bothers them during their favorite event.

Last edited 2 months ago by dresselgoat
swimapologist
Reply to  dresselgoat
2 months ago

I’d bet elevnty billion dollars that women’s soccer is not JHONES’ favorite event.

Also, probably the same reason why HJONES thinks he can tell the athletes to not kneel during their favorite event ;-).

Emg1986
Reply to  dresselgoat
2 months ago

But why does it bother people? Just because I don’t agree with a statement made, doesn’t mean it bothers me, it won’t effect my viewing pleasure.

Samesame
Reply to  Emg1986
2 months ago

Exactly!

Not Tapered 🏊
Reply to  Emg1986
2 months ago

If TJ Maxx and law enforcement in the US can ignore shoplifting, seems like a reasonable ask.

Irish Ringer
2 months ago

Agree or disagree with the individual suppression efforts of the day, the tendency to control thought/speech on social media will eventually impact all of us. I’m of the general mindset to let people express themselves and then we can make up our own minds.

Ihalmiut
Reply to  Irish Ringer
2 months ago

Words of wisdom for the day.

Tomek
2 months ago

I personally am not too happy with sport being politicized, but than many other areas of our life previously immune from politics, for most part, no longer are. It came to the point where politics decide what we buy, eat, etc…Life’s tough as it is and I look at sport as an entertainment, the place where I can just enjoy excitement of competition and forget about all other bullshit. I used to follow olympics religiously as a kid in my native Poland. Was heartbroken about boycott of 1980 and 1984 olympics. Right now swimming is the only olympic sport I follow on regular basis. As an immigrant to this country who arrived with $20 in my pocket back in ’80s… Read more »

CanuckSwimFan
2 months ago

to think the olympics has ever been apolitical is rather naive. How do you explain the use of national flags and anthems?

Eric the eel > Phelps
2 months ago

Meanwhile, I published a short video of my friend who was walking at the ceremony on social media, and my video was deleted for copyright -_-

Anonymoose
Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
2 months ago

thats right how dare you!!

jdsmitty1
2 months ago

Wanting politics to be separated from sports is unrealistic especially nowadays. I understand that sports are often an escape from politics and it’s inconvenient to have them interrupted with protest. However, local and global political climates are very much intertwined with sports, and silencing athletes for speaking their mind proves exactly that.
Can’t say I’m surprised that the IOC is taking more of a “don’t speak” attitude with only a marginal progression, coming from the organization that displaces thousands of unhoused people every games.

Yozhik
Reply to  jdsmitty1
2 months ago

Look, we got the First Lady at Olympic Games in Tokyo. Let her do all this protesting business (kneeling, looking away from National Flag, and other impressive stuff). And let athletes do what they were sent for to Olympic Games on yours and my money.
And also forms of protest became very cheap and boring. Not as it was during old good times when people burnt themselves or starved to death. Some guy chained himself to the old tree protesting against cutting the pristine forest in Pacific Northwest. In two days he was found eaten by grizzly. That is protest. I believe it. But when it done mostly for publicity I despise it.

Admin
Reply to  Yozhik
2 months ago

You sure that bear thing happened? I couldn’t find any evidence that it ever has.

Yozhik
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

I read it on Quora. Not the most reliable source. Agree. I will do some research as well. 😀

Last edited 2 months ago by Yozhik
Sub13
Reply to  Yozhik
2 months ago

TIL if you want to protest something you need to literally die or your protest is boring 😂😂

Yozhik
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

If you are inexperienced protester and still are learning how to do so then I can help you. The main purpose of protesting activity isn’t changing something but getting attention of other people to what you are doing or saying. The easiest way to get somebody else’s attention is to rob some business. Go to Southside Chicago. You will find there plenty of experienced tutors. Each criminal claims to be a protester.
Another type of protest you can learn from northern suburbs of Chicago. The gated communities where not only black but white and any other color of life cannot even try to penetrate put a huge sign on the gates: Black life matters.
Hypocrisy is everywhere and… Read more »

You Don’t Say
Reply to  Yozhik
2 months ago

There is a French guy on a hunger strike in front of the train station next to the stadium right now…search for it.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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