IOC Does U-Turn on Footage of Athletes Taking a Knee

Players from 5 soccer teams kneeled before Wednesday's games
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 22, 2021 4:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2021 6:51 AM CDT
IOC Does U-Turn on Footage of Athletes Taking a Knee
Australia players pose for a group photo with an indigenous flag prior to women's soccer match against New Zealand at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

After images of Olympic soccer players taking a knee were excluded from official highlight reels and social media channels, the IOC said Thursday that kneeling protests will be shown in the future. Players from five women’s soccer teams kneeled in support of racial justice Wednesday, the first day such demonstrations were allowed at the Olympic Games after a ban lasting decades. The concession under Olympic Charter Rule 50, which has long prohibited any athlete protest inside event venues, was finally allowed this month by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC has tried to reconcile enforcing the rule while recognizing, and sometimes celebrating, the iconic image of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raising a black-gloved fist on the medal podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

On Wednesday, the British and Chilean teams kneeled before the opening games and were followed by the United States, Sweden, and New Zealand players in later kickoffs, the AP reports. The Australia team posed with a flag of Australia's indigenous people. Those images were excluded from the official Tokyo Olympic highlights package provided by the IOC to media including the AP that could not broadcast the games live. Official Olympic social media channels also did not include pictures of the athlete activism. “The IOC is covering the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will be included as well,” the Olympic body said Thursday in an apparent change of policy.

(Read more Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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