Athletes Will Be Allowed To Kneel During Olympic Trials | 22 Words

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said they will not sanction athletes for raising their fists or kneeling during the national anthem at Olympic trials.

The news comes after the United States Soccer also voted to end the ban in a landslide victory over the weekend.


Safe to say, the reaction has been strong. Here's exactly what the move means...

Now, it all started in 2016.

During the 49ers third preseason game, quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, began kneeling during the US national anthem prior to games, rather than standing as is customary.

He knelt during the national anthem in protest of police shootings of African-American men and other social injustices faced by Black people in the US.

Speaking in an interview in 2016, Kaepernick said:

"To me, this is something that has to change, and when there's significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it's supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."

His kneeling was a sign of respect.

He opted for kneeling over sitting, however, as a sign of respect for the men and women who fight for the United States.

Kaepernick later said that he "couldn't show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color."

Kaepernick's actions inspired others...

His teammate, Eric Reid, soon began to kneel beside him, alongside other teammates such as Antoine Bethea, Eli Harold, Jaquiski Tartt, and Rashard Robinson.

The NFL's response wasn't so positive, however.

Initially, the NFL released a statement claiming that players were only encouraged, and not required, to stand during the national anthem.

But, in 2017, Kaepernick became a free agent.

No team would offer him a contract, and, in October of that year, he filed a grievance against the league, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him signed.

Regardless of this, players still continued to kneel.

After Kaepernick's attorney stated that "athletes who protest peacefully should not be punished," public backlash mounted until team owners declared that all team personnel on the field must "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."

A full ban on the action was then enforced.

This announcement caused even more outrage...

If any team members were caught kneeling during the anthem, the team would be fined and the decision would be upon the team leader whether or not they punish that particular player.

This did not sit well with the players, nor did it with the rest of America.

Kaepernick has received a flurry of support from thousands of people all over the world.

via: Getty

After Donald Trump said that athletes who kneeled during the national anthem were disrespecting the U.S. and its patriotic symbols, the hashtags #TakeAKnee and #TaketheKnee began trending.

And a number of celebrities have voiced their support.

Musician John Legend penned his own op-ed for Slate, titled “The NFL Protests Are Patriotic." In his piece, Legend called out Trump for suppressing voter rights and talked about important protests in history.

Stevie Wonder was another iconic figure to show his alliance with Kaepernick.

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The music legend performed at the Global Citizens Festival in New York in September 2017. And he had the following to say in support of Kaepernick and the other NFL players... “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America," Wonder said, kneeling down arm in arm with his son, Kwame Morris. “But not just one knee — I’m taking both knees."

Even the whole cast of Star Trek: Discovery rallied together to show their support...

Actress, Sonequa Martin-Green, shared a photo on her Instagram of the team all kneeling on their knees with the hashtag, #takeaknee.

And one of his biggest vocal supporters is none other than Rihanna.

via: Getty

She took her support beyond just voicing her opinion - the musician famously turned down the Super Bowl half-time performance, saying that she "couldn't dare do that" to Colin Kaepernick.

She believed that the NFL player was being blackballed.

via: Getty

But, following the rise of the BLM movement last year, many expected to see Kaepernick back on the field.

However, that didn't happen.

But this week, after 4 years of protesting...

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The resilience of those continuing to kneel and protest for the cause has finally paid off.

Because now the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have made a big decision...


They have decided they will not sanction athletes for raising their fists or kneeling during the national anthem at Olympic trials.

On Tuesday, they released a 9-page document to offer outlines for "racial and social demonstrations."


It explains what will and will not constitute a demonstration, with the details hoping to help "[advance] racial and social justice; or promoting the human dignity of individuals or groups that have historically been underrepresented, minoritized, or marginalized in their respective societal context."

It also outlines how athletes cannot be sanctioned for taking a knee or raising their fists.


It said: "[It] prevents ... third parties from making statements or taking actions of their own, and that each participant must make their own personal decision about the risks and benefits that may be involved."

The news comes after the United States Soccer has voted to end the ban on players kneeling during the national anthem.


More than seventy percent of the members of U.S. Soccer's ruling body voted to scrap the policy requiring players to "stand respectfully" during the song, while thirty percent voted to keep the policy in place.

"We know that this is a very divisive issue within our country and throughout the world," U.S. Soccer President, Cindy Parlow Cone, told reporters after the vote.


"So I was not surprised that our membership was not 100% one way or the other."

Either way, this is an incredible step forward for our country...

And a much-needed one, at that.

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