After images of Olympic football players taking a knee were excluded from official highlight reels and social media channels, the IOC said that kneeling protests will be shown in the future.
Players from five women’s football teams kneeled in support of racial justice yesterday, the first day it was allowed at the Olympic Games after a ban lasting decades.
The concession under Olympic Charter Rule 50, which has long prohibited any athlete protest inside event venues, was finally allowed this month by the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC has tried to reconcile enforcing the rule while recognising, and sometimes celebrating, the iconic image of American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos each raising a black-gloved fist on the medal podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
On Wednesday, the British and Chilean teams kneeled before the opening games and were followed by the United States, Sweden and New Zealand players in later kickoffs. The Australia team posed with a flag of Australia’s Indigenous people.
Those images were excluded from the official Tokyo Olympic highlights package provided by the IOC to media including The Associated Press that could not broadcast the games live.
Official Olympic social media channels also did not include pictures of the athlete activism.
“The IOC is covering the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will be included as well,” the Olympic body said in an apparent change of policy.
The new guidance allows taking a knee or raising a fist in pre-game or pre-race introductions but not on medal ceremony podiums. The IOC will still discipline athletes who protest on the podium.