The International Olympic Committee had recently decreed that kneeling on the medal podium during the playing of a national anthem will result in punishment.
Now they may be backtracking.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said this week that the organization will be talking with athletes about how to move forward, according to the Associate Press.
“The Olympic aims are a very powerful global demonstration against racism and for inclusivity,” Bach said at a news conference after an executive board meeting.
Still, he sought to separate “support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter and potentially divisive demonstrations.”
As I said on the latest episode of the Five Rings To Rule Them All podcast, there’s no way the IOC can contain the movement that is just now gaining unprecedented steam for racial equality and will not be silenced in sports.
On the podcast, I talk about the dynamic the Olympics have to deal with. And it’s something various sports leagues are trying to get ahead of. The NFL has said it was wrong to not hear the message of its players kneeling for the National Anthem. Will the Olympics relent? And if they want to bar kneeling, what opportunities will they create to allow demonstrations and protests by athletes?
Plus, I talk about a few things I’ve learned from my own personal “listening tour,” hearing black people across sports and in my life. Have you ever heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921? You probably haven’t. And if you haven’t, you should look it up.
You can listen to my conversation about race, protests and the Olympics on the Megaphone player, or by visiting Apple podcasts for an easy browser player. Five Rings To Rule Them All is also available on Google Podcasts, Spotify and many more platforms. Just search for Outsports wherever you get your podcast.