August 1, 2021

Expresso rostrum: big games | The footballers knelt in protest, but the Olympic Games organizers will not share these photos

The list of restrictions continues to grow in the Tokyo Olympics, but the last one has nothing to do with covid-19. On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organization of the Tokyo Olympic Games informed their teams responsible for social networks that they were prohibited from publishing photographs of athletes kneeling before the games, according to the newspaper “The Guardian”.

In the message, reference was made to the women’s football game between Team GB, the Olympic team from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Chile. Regarding the first team, it was already certain that the players would kneel down, as they had already confirmed it before the games.

And so it was.

Before Wednesday’s game, the players from both teams knelt. Following the formations of the USA, Sweden and New Zealand. The images were broadcast live on television, but did not reach any of the Olympic social networks, nor to the live blog (article constantly updated) made by the organization.

This gesture, which has been repeated all over the world and across different modalities, is a form of protest against racism and, especially in the North American context, the abuse of force by police officers against the African-American community. Colin Kaepernick, a football player, was the first athlete to kneel and several followed.

Steph Houghton, one of the captains of the Great Britain team, said at the end of the game against Chile that the decision was taken by the whole team, which considers it important to show support for people dealing with discrimination. That’s what happened to some England players after losing the Euro 2020 final against Italy. Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were insulted and victims of racist attacks on social media.

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β€œIt was a proud moment because the Chilean players also got down on their knees to show how united we are as a sport,” said Houghton after the game.

The Olympic Games have already hosted some of the most important photographs in the history of sport. Like the Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. At the medal ceremony, with one of their fists raised, the athletes were protagonists in a protest against racial segregation.

“The Guardian” mentions that there has recently been a relaxation of Rule 50, which prohibited athletes from performing political, religious or racial demonstrations in any Olympic venue or stage. The IOC President himself, Thomas Bach, said that the knee gesture was “allowed”, as it does not violate such Rule 50, even so refraining from commenting on the news put forward by “The Guardian”.

This year these photographs will be taken again, but those whose protagonists have a knee touching the ground will not be shared by the organization.