Tokyo Olympics ban athletes from wearing BLM attire

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

7 May 2021

Athletes who participate in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics will not be allowed to wear “Black Lives Matter” attire.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) ban on “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” means contenders cannot wear the clothing on the medal stand, playing field or during the official ceremonies. 

There isn’t word on what punishment athletes could face if they violate those rules, with a case by case basis being applied.

“Black Lives Matter” slogans will be allowed during some parts of the Olympics however, with press conferences, interviews and team meetings all given the green light.

IOC Athletes’ Commission Chief Kirsty Coventry said: “A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it’s not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium. So, our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest, or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.”

The news has seen major backlash with various sporting institutions rallying behind would be demonstrators.

“Any athlete sanctioned at the Tokyo Olympicswill have the full backing of the World Players,” said Brendan Schwab, the union’s executive director.

The organization Global Athlete encouraged athletes to “not allow outdated ‘sports rules’ to supersede your basic human rights.”