Olympic Trials To Allow Raised Fists And Kneeling During National Anthem

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has announced that athletes will be allowed to raise their fists and kneel during the national anthem at the 2021 Olympic trials. 

According to CBS News on Tuesday (March 30) a nine-page document was released by the committee and outlined that any racial or social demonstrations would not result in athletes being “punished or undermined” by USOPC. The athlete’s participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Trials events would also not be impacted. 

Allowed peaceful protests include: kneeling on the medal podium or during the national anthem; raising a fist at the medal podium; and wearing hats with “Black Lives Matter,” “Trans Lives Matter,” or words like “equality” or “justice.” 

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The guidance comes with the help of the athlete-led Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice. In Dec. 2020, the USOPC announced that it would not discipline players for peaceful protests at the Olympics and Pan American games, CBS writes.

“Our Olympic and Paralympic community, including alumni athletes, current athletes and future generations of hopefuls, is unique in its diversity – in race, gender, background and perspectives – but we are united as members of Team USA and we are a powerful force for good,” says Sarah Hirshland, CEO U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, in an open letter.

Adding: “This  defines latitude for athletes to express their personal perspectives on racial and social justice in a respectful way, and without fear of sanction from the USOPC.”

USOPC will also permit athletes to vocally advocate for BIPOC individuals and other underrepresented or marginalized groups. Publicly speaking against police brutality and systemic racism, and police discrimination will also be encouraged.

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