Soccer Players Kneel in First Test of Updated Olympic Protest Rules

Players on five women’s soccer teams took a knee before the early matches of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – protests allowed by updated IOC rules.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has spent the year in a bit of a standoff with athletes over Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter. That rule governs how and when athletes are allowed to express themselves at the Olympic Games. Previously, the rule strictly banned things like protests or political statements on Olympic podiums and on the field of play.

But as athletes have pushed for more opportunities to use their platforms to speak out against injustices, many have criticized Rule 50. Earlier this month, the IOC released a new version of the rule, which for the first time allows athletes to express themselves on the field of play, but only prior to competition.

Before the opening ceremonies had even kicked off in Tokyo, the rule was already put to the test. Several women’s soccer matches took place before the opening ceremonies, and members of five different teams took a knee on the field before the start of their matches.

Taking a knee has become the go-to protest opposing racism ever since former NFL player Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the U.S. national anthem in 2016. Members of the U.S. women’s Olympic soccer team knelt on the field before their first match, and their opponent, Sweden, also knelt in solidarity in a stand for human rights. Members of the British and Chilean Olympic soccer teams also knelt before their match.

Members of New Zealand’s team took a knee before their match with Australia. According to CNN, the Australian team remained standing but locked their arms in solidarity and also spoke out in support of Indigenous Australians after the match.

IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed after the matches that the on-field protests fell within the new scope of Rule 50.

“It is allowed, it is not a violation of the rules,” Bach said.

Within swimming, we notably did not see any pool deck protests during the U.S. Olympic Trials. But that event also did not feature a podium, nor the playing of the national anthem during awards ceremonies. (Hammer thrower Gwen Barry stirred conversation during the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials by turning away from the flag – and even she noted afterwards that the event was typically not playing the anthem while athletes were on the podium, and she was able to stay out of the spotlight during the other times the anthem had been played).

The new IOC rule 50 does still prohibit athletes from expressing themselves on the podium, so once medals start being awarded, the updated rule will face its biggest test as athletes decide whether to extend their protests to the very-visible venue of the Olympic podium.

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Luke
2 months ago

Football*

Robbos
Reply to  Luke
2 months ago

Yeah Football all the way, this is World event & 99% of countries call it football, 1% of countries like US & even in my country call their local game football & the world game Soccer.

Bruh
2 months ago

Oh ya guys your really showing them 😂

Anonymoose
Reply to  Bruh
2 months ago

yrou’e *

Bruh
Reply to  Anonymoose
2 months ago

My bad g

Doconc
2 months ago

And karma won 3-nil

Admin
Reply to  Doconc
2 months ago

“and their opponent, Sweden, also knelt in solidarity in a stand for human rights.”

stop it
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Kneeling to “Stand” for human rights…….makes about as much sense as peeing on your grass so you have “rain”

ACC
Reply to  stop it
2 months ago

Yep. Rosa Parks and the participants of the Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-ins weren’t making stands either because words can only have one definition.

HJones
Reply to  ACC
2 months ago

Yea, but they aren’t protesting injustice anywhere near the scale of what Rosa Parks went through.

Admin
Reply to  HJones
2 months ago

When I was flying to Omaha, a guy who had been seated in first class (on a free upgrade) threw his mask at the feet of a flight attendant as he deboarded the plane and declared that he was a modern day Rosa Parks.

Since you asked.

Mr Piano
Reply to  HJones
2 months ago

There’s a lot to protest about. Income inequality, a corrupt criminal justice system, broken healthcare systems, I can go on and on. Police brutality, illegal wars, millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Systemic racism that affects the education and job opportunities for countless people of color. Lgbt rights in states like South Carolina last week. There are a million injustices if you pay attention. We should praise those who protest against these injustices, if we try to pretend it doesn’t exist, we’re keeping the cycle running.

R Pearse
Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

My thought to you is move to another country

Jack Wasserstein
Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

Agreed

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Wasserstein
Robert Pearse
Reply to  stop it
2 months ago

What a great thought, I agree

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

I do wonder though if it takes away from the focus at all. With Soccer it’s such a long game I wouldn’t think so.

edmundburke
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Empty virtue signaling.

Coach Macgyver
2 months ago

Kneeling is taking action, raising awareness for a cause. Not sure why this is still being considered a protest.

Last edited 2 months ago by Coach Macgyver
HJones
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
2 months ago

Per Merriam-Webster:

“Definition of protest: a solemn declaration of opinion and usually of dissent”

So yes, kneeling is in fact considered to be a protest.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  HJones
2 months ago

Lol

Guerra
2 months ago

I took a knee before posting this to protest “black on black” crime, BLM/Antifa riots and looting of innocent people and businesses and BLM fraud and misuse of funds….

Curious
Reply to  Guerra
2 months ago

That is racist

Guerra
Reply to  Curious
2 months ago

Pfft…OK, whatever. Just cancel me!

Last edited 2 months ago by Guerra
Greg
Reply to  Guerra
2 months ago

Careful what you wish for as you might just get it. It could be as simple as a screen grab forwarded to SafeSport. If you’re a coach or member of USA Swimming you may just get your wish…..?
 
Consider protesting “black on black”  all crime, BLM/Antifa all riots and looting of innocent people
and businesses and BLM  all fraud and misuse of funds….

Mr Piano
Reply to  Guerra
2 months ago

But you don’t condemn the police officers who started many of the riots by attacking peaceful protestors with rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray? But oh no! It’s the black people that are the problem. Pathetic…

Hmm
Reply to  Mr Piano
2 months ago

Hahaha the police starting the riots? Sure they dont help them more times than not, but starting them…youre sorely mistaken.

Yozhik
2 months ago

Very soon kneeling will be the standard way to pay respect to national anthem and standing wil be the form of protest.

Deepblue
Reply to  Yozhik
2 months ago

WOKE-zhik

Anonymoose
Reply to  Deepblue
2 months ago

yet another “yo! sick” take

Cruelty slaughters for toxic meat
2 months ago

Can’t wait for a protest of the annual dolphin massacre in Taiji Wakayama to hit the podium. Or Fukushima radioactive waste. Or the many american military bases in Japan destabilizing the region. So many protests ripe for the picking at Tokyo 2020. Nothing will come from Japanese athletes >> “social harmony” = OBEY or be socially ostracized

Samesame
2 months ago

The Australian soccer team knelt also. Where does CNN get their information?

Samesame
Reply to  Samesame
2 months ago

My bad. The posed with the Aboriginal flag. Sorry.

Robbos
Reply to  Samesame
2 months ago

The Australian men’s FOOTBALL team took the knee, but the women’s team stood in solidarity & before hand posed with the Indigenous flag & this caused major uproar with some keyboard warriors in social media.

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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