Competitors at the United States Olympic trials will be able to take a knee during the national anthem as a means of protest, if they so choose.
Taking a knee during the national anthem to protest against systemic injustice and racial inequality was a movement that began with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2016 and has since spread around the league and to other sports.
According to multiple reports, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee will not punish athletes for kneeling, or participating in any other form of peaceful protest during the upcoming trials.
Via Sports Illustrated:
With guidance from its recently formed Council on Racial and Social Justice, the USOPC released a list of dos and don’ts as part of its document. The list of allowable forms of demonstration included holding up a fist, kneeling during the anthem and wearing hats or face masks with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or words such as “equality” or “justice.”
Not allowed are hate symbols, as defined by the Anti-Defamation League, and actions that would impede others from competing, such as lying down in the middle of the track.
As for the Olympics themselves this summer, the USOPC says it will not sanction athletes who protest during the games, but also issued the caveat that a “third party” (the IOC, perhaps) could prevent such actions from taking place.
The 2021 Tokyo Olympics will run from July 23-August 8.
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