Athletes are banned from wearing “Black Lives Matter” clothing or apparel at the postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The International Olympic Committee plans to enforce Rule 50 that restricts athletes from supporting political or social justice messages during competition.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the IOC’s rules against slogans with a political or social justice meaning are “granular” this year. The committee has specifically banned apparel bearing the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
Athletes will be able to instead wear apparel with more “generic words,” like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality,” according to the report.
The announcement follows the IOC’s announcement in April that it plans to enforce Rule 50 against those who take a kneel to protest the National Anthem. The committee has not stated what type of punishment would be given to those who break the policy.
Tokyo may stand as the true test regarding whether America’s top athletes care more about competing for their country or supporting the BLM movement. The ruling stands in contrast with America’s professional sports leagues that have allowed players and coaches freedom to choose a variety of protests.
The U.S. women’s soccer team may provide the strongest barrier to Rule 50. Team members have previously practiced the tradition of kneeling before the National Anthem, leading to support from the left and frustration from patriotic Americans.
The move also contrast the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s (USOPC) response to social justice issues. On Apr. 1, the USOPC announced it would allow athletes to kneel during the National Anthem and raise their fists at Olympic trials, according to CBS News.
Still banned, according to a report from USA Today, are “hate symbols, as defined by the Anti-Defamation League, and actions that would impede others from competing, such as laying down in the middle of the track.”
As the nation continues to recover from the global COVID-19 pandemic and confronts the leftist policy issues of the Biden administration, the Tokyo Summer Games offer the potential for a ray of hope for American unity. Unity has failed in government, but sports offers a new venue to bring people together in global competition.
Conservative Americans pray a handful of woke athletes won’t ruin it for everyone else. We embrace the nation’s freedoms, but can we expect a little more when our nation’s athletes appear at the opening ceremony and compete with the world?
If so, perhaps it will be a bold move for the nation. If athletes choose to oppose Rule 50 and display BLM logos or kneel in protest, a few competitors could ruin the games for the nation.
Instead of looking at social justice issues to unite the country, let’s look at the flag and the freedoms it represents to give our nation hope. Let’s not let another area of life be taken over by progressive politics. Let’s show the world our best, settling matters on the field and the court instead of bowing or protesting with our politics.