The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Tuesday that Black Lives Matter apparel will be banned at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
While the BLM insignia will be banned from use by the athletes, other phrases such as “peace,” “respect,” and “equality” will be allowed by the IOC.
The committee also said Athletes who plan to violate the rule could face punishment and would review such violations on a “case-by-case” basis. This will be the first Olympic games since last year’s rise of the BLM message around the world.
The summer games scheduled in Japan last year were postponed amid the COVID-19 pandemic and moved to July of this year.
Even though the social justice cause was not established four years ago, the committee has held a long-standing ban on “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda.”
“The IOC AC is very concerned about the risk of politicization of the athletes and the risk that athletes may be put under external pressure,” the IOC said in a statement last month. “It is important to protect athletes from the potential consequences of being placed in a position where they may be forced to take a public position on a particular domestic or international issue, regardless of their beliefs.”
The new guidance on Black Lives Matter comes after major U.S. sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have thrown support behind the organization.