Olympic Athletes Banned From Kneeling or Protesting of Any Kind At 2020 Summer Games

(Photo by BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee doesn’t want to see kneeling, or any other kind of political protest at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

On Thursday, the IOS published new guidelines that outlined specific protests that they will not allow at the Tokyo summer games, forbidding any athlete from any “gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling” and “displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands” at Olympic venues.

“We needed clarity and they wanted clarity on the rules,” IOC Athletes’ Commission chair Kirsty Coventry said, according to the Associated Press. “The majority of athletes feel it is very important that we respect each other as athletes.”

“The unique nature of the Olympic Games enables athletes from all over the world to come together in peace and harmony,” the guidelines say.

“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world.”

“This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”

Athletes will be allowed to express political opinions in media gatherings, press conferences, and mixed-zone interviews, and on social media.

The most notable protests to ever happen at the Olympics was when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the podium of the 1968 Olympics — to raise awareness for civil rights.

The guidelines don’t specify what punishments might happen, but it does say that any athlete who violates the policy will be subject to discipline.