Taking the Knee for BLM Will Be Banned at Tokyo Olympics | 22 Words

Taking a knee in a stand against racism at the Tokyo Olympics will be banned, it has today been confirmed.

Here's the full story...

Now, the act of taking the knee to fight racial injustice began back in 2016.

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During the 49ers' third preseason game, quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the U.S. 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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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, shortly after the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction last year...

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Sportsmen from all over the world began taking the knee before games, an act that remains customary for many today.

However, the popular act could very well be foiled in one of the biggest sporting events in the world.

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As stated earlier, the Tokyo Olympics, which are set to take place this summer after being canceled last year, have announced that they will be prohibiting both the acts of taking the knee and raising a fist.

Of course, people are outraged by the announcement...

On Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee maintained its ban on athletes' protests inside stadiums, at ceremonies, and on podiums.

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The IOC's Rule 50 forbids any kind of "demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda" in venues and any other Olympic area, with the Games body concluding that the rule should be maintained following an athlete consultation, as per The Daily Mail.

But, despite the backlash, the IOC's Athletes' Commission chief, Kirsty Coventry, who led a review of the rule, said the majority of athletes consulted were against any protests within the fields of play or the podiums.

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"I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today," Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion for Zimbabwe, said in an online presentation.

​She added that around seventy percent of those athletes did not want protests on podiums, ceremonies, and fields of play.

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The Tokyo Olympics, delayed by a year due to the pandemic, is scheduled to begin on July 23rd.