Poll of Olympians overwhelmingly opposed allowing athletes to take a knee

by WorldTribune Staff, April 23, 2021

Officials with the Tokyo Olympic Games announced on Thursday that they will not allow athletes to kneel or protest during the Games which are set to begin on July 23.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it polled more than 3,500 elite athletes and Olympians ranging in age from 16 to 55+ and it became clear the overwhelming majority are in favor of strict rules against demonstrations.

What is known as Rule 50, which bans “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in venues and any other Olympic area, had been under review, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

“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,” the IOC said.

Gutsmack.com noted: “The decision was made, in part, because the athletes themselves think using sport as an avenue for political theater is complete horseshit. The IOC is currently working with the Legal Affairs Commission to come out with a range of different sanctions so there will be no little Megan Rapinoe shoving her garbage takes down the microphones of the West after the U.S. women’s team destroys Thailand 18-0.”

The IOC’s Athletes’ Commission chief Kirsty Coventry, who led a review of the rule, said the majority of athletes consulted were against any protests within the fields of play or the podiums.

“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today,” Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion for Zimbabwe, said in an online presentation of the Rule 50 consultation results.

When asked if athletes would be punished in Tokyo for making political statements such as taking a knee on the podium in support of racial equality, Coventry said: “Yes that is correct.”

“That is also because of the majority of athletes we spoke to. That is what they are requesting for,” Coventry said.

The IOC said that, of the more than 3,500 athletes polled, 70 percent said it was “not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” on the field of play or at the opening or closing ceremony.

The survey also showed 67 percent of respondents disapproved of podium demonstrations.

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