Megan Rapinoe Reacts To Protest Ban At 2020 Olympics: ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

2020-01-11 12:26:46

Megan Rapinoe spoke out against new guidelines that prohibit athletes from kneeling or engaging in other forms of political protest and free speech at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The soccer star criticized the Thursday announcement from the International Olympic Committee, writing in an Instagram story Friday that there’s “so much being done about protests. So little being done about what we are protesting about.”

“We will not be silenced,” she added.

In its statement, the IOC provided examples of the types of protests and demonstrations that are prohibited under Rule 50 of its Olympic Charter, which states, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

The IOC said prohibited protests include any political messaging, like signs or armbands; gestures, including hand gestures or kneeling; and any refusal to follow protocol at ceremonies.

Kirsty Coventry, chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, told The Associated Press that the commission set forth the rules to provide “clarity.”

Megan Rapinoe's Instagram story in response to the International Olympic Committee's protest ban.

Megan Rapinoe’s Instagram story in response to the International Olympic Committee’s protest ban.

In August, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee issued 12-month probations to hammer thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imboden after the Olympians peacefully protested social injustices in the U.S. at the 2019 Pan American Games.

Imboden kneeled, and Berry raised a fist the following day, as the U.S. national anthem played over the medals stand at the games.

Ironically, that same committee ― previously known as the U.S. Olympic Committee ― inducted track-and-field icons Tommie Smith and John Carlos to its hall of fame in November. Carlos and Smith famously bowed their heads and raised their fists during a medals ceremony at the 1968 Olympics to protest racism and poverty.

Rapinoe, who helped the U.S. women’s national team win its second consecutive World Cup in July, has often used her platform to bring attention to social injustice issues.

In 2016, she became known as the first high-profile white or female athlete to join NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem before a soccer game.

In November, she dedicated her Glamour 2019 Women of the Year speech to Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has remained unsigned by a team since he became a free agent after the 2016 season. The NFL has been widely accused of blackballing Kaepernick for his activism.

During her speech, Rapinoe described Kaepernick as “someone whose courage and bravery was so bright and so bold.”

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