In line with this ban, the International Olympics Committee noted that it will punish any athlete who fails to comply with its order, per a report by the WBTV 3 (via the Associated Press).
As such the IOC further stated this week that any items of clothing featuring slogans like “Black Lives Matter” will not be allowed although the other apparel that features words like “peace,” “respect,” “solidarity,” “inclusion,” and “equality” are will be allowed.
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Stating why they are imposing a ban on the use of apparels containing the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, the IOC revealed that 70 percent of 3,500 athletes surveyed last year agreed it was not “appropriate to demonstrate or express their views” while participating in the Olympics, or attending the opening and closing ceremonies.
However, there is no restriction on “Black Lives Matter” apparel worn during any press conferences, interviews, or team meetings.
“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,” said the International Olympic Committee’s commission chief, Kirsty Coventry.
“So our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play, and official ceremonies from any kind of protest or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.”
Reacting to the IOC’s decision, Civil rights attorney Ben Crump in a tweet criticized the IOC and urged them to rescind their decision. Ben Crump has represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“The Olympics will now BAN any athlete who wears a BLM shirt, kneels during the national anthem or raises a fist to oppose racism,” said Crump on Wednesday. “This sends the WRONG message about basic human rights & I urge the Olympic Committee to reverse this decision!”