The United States Olympic Committee has urged the International Olympic Committee to remove the controversial Rule 50 from the Olympic Charter and advocate allowing peaceful political protests by athletes during the biggest sporting event.
Rule 50 prohibits participating athletes during the Games from expressing themselves politically or religiously in any form.
The charter rule has come under pressure this year after the violent death of black American George Floyd, which sparked a storm of protests against racism among American athletes as well.
The IOC does not want to delete rule 50 for the time being, but the powerful advocacy of the influential American committee may change that. A special steering committee, headed by athlete Moushaumi Robinson, has prepared a recommendation and submitted it to the IOC.
“The recommendation is based on the fundamental right of athletes to make their voices heard to address racial and social injustice. Peaceful protests and demonstrations can be a catalyst for change,” said Robinson’s group.
American athletes often actively agitate against racial inequality, including by kneeling during the national anthem. “Denying athletes the right to respectful demonstrations, especially those from the historically undervalued and marginalized groups, is against Olympic values,” said Robinson’s steering committee.