Athletes participating in the 2021 Olympics are now allowed to “peacefully and respectfully” demonstrate support of social justice causes, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (U.S.O.P.C.) announced on Thursday.
The Hill reports that previous guidelines from the committee prohibited athletes from participating in any “kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues, or other areas.”
Those guidelines have now been relaxed for one type of political demonstration.
“First and foremost, it is critical to state unequivocally that human rights are not political, and peaceful calls for equity and equality must not be confused with divisive demonstrations,” U.S.O.P.C. C.E.O. Sarah Hirshland said in a statement.
Hirshland pointed to several American athletes who got reprimanded for protesting, saying they “should have supported instead of condemned, and advocated for understanding instead of relying on previous precedent.” Hirshland has since then apologized.
“The U.S.O.P.C.’s decision recognizes that Team U.S.A. athletes serve as a beacon of inspiration and unity globally, and their voices have and will be a force for good and progress in our society,” Hirshland said in her statement.
“In the United States, we need to continue to use the platforms we have available to us to foster discussion, education, and action for racial and social justice.”