The Los Angeles 2028 games head Casey Wasserman made the headlines earlier this week over some comments he made in regard to Rule 50. Wasserman is calling for “necessary” and “athlete-led” modifications to a rule that imposes restrictions on athletes’ freedom of speech.
Per Inside The Games, Wasserman last month wrote a letter addressed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for the organization to ease the aforementioned restrictions on podium protests and other forms of freedom of speech contemplated by the guideline.
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”
“My view is pretty simple in that I don’t believe anti-racist speech is political speech,” Wasserman said in the statement.
The IOC indicated in June that its Athletes’ Commission would “have a dialogue with athletes around the world to explore different ways for how Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter in a dignified way”.
In late August, the IOC Athletes’ Commission published a draft timeline along with a consultation framework. The current timeline outlined in the framework says that engagement with athletes will be ongoing through October.
The first report to the IOC Executive Board is expected in December, with the final recommendation to come during Q1 of 2021.
The Australian Olympic Committee recently ran its own survey of current and former Olympic athletes in relation to this topic, which showed that 34% of present-day athletes believe views should be expressed at the Games and an additional 47% said it depended on the circumstances. The AOC survey also showed that athletes didn’t believe any expression should take place on the field of play or during a podium ceremony.