Colin Kaepernick’s effect on society and sports has gone global.
On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee announced new guidelines that won’t allow athletes in this Summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo from taking any kind of political, racial, or moral stand.
No gestures. No kneeling. No raised fist. No armbands. No nothing.
“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world,” said the IOC.
“This is why it is important, on both a personal and global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”
Most recently, Race Imboden took a knee while hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised a fist during the Pan-American Games in August. In the past, Australian and British swimmers have refused to take the podium with Chinese athletes due to doping allegations. While Feyisa Lilesa crossed his wrists at the finish line in solidarity with his people in Ethiopia back in 2016.
“We needed clarity and they wanted clarity on the rules,” said Kirsty Coventry, who chairs the IOC Athletes Commission. “The majority of athletes feel it is very important that we respect each other as athletes.”
Ironically, specific punishments haven’t been mentioned. We only know that “disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis.”
Now, let’s wait and see if anybody challenges the rule this Summer.