According to the International Olympic Committee, athletes will not be allowed to wear clothing with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” during the Tokyo Olympic Games, which begins in July.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will implement Rule 50, which states that venues, the Olympic Village, and the podium must be “neutral and free of any form of political, religious, or ethnic demonstrations.”

“The aim of Rule 50 is to ensure that each and every athlete can experience the Olympic Games without any divisive disruption,” the IOC’s website says.

The IOC rule also states, “If an athlete or participant is in breach of Rule 50 and the Olympic Charter, each incident will be evaluated by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary.”

The IOC “confirmed its long-standing ban on ‘demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda’ on the field of play, medal podiums or official ceremonies,” The Associated Press reported on April 23.

“Raising a fist or kneeling for a national anthem could lead to punishment from the IOC.”

Furthermore, those are not the only things that are forbidden. The IOC also said that slogans such as “Black Lives Matter” will not be allowed on athlete apparel at Olympic venues. However, it approved using the words “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality” on T-shirts. 

The majority of athletes support a protest ban. According to the IOC athletes ‘ commission chief Kirsty Coventry, more than two-thirds of the 3,500 replies from consulting athlete groups showed support for upholding Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter.

Coventry said 70% of athletes surveyed believe it is inappropriate to demonstrate during competition, and 67% believe it is also inappropriate on the medal stand.

Rule 50 applies at “all Olympic venues, including: On the field of play,” “In the Olympic Village,” “During Olympic medal ceremonies,” and “During the Opening, Closing and other official Ceremonies,” the IOC stated. “Any protest or demonstration outside Olympic venues must obviously comply with local legislation wherever local law forbids such actions.”

An athlete’s respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation, and the IOC can all punish athletes who break Rule 50.

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