Even though LeBron James is not playing for Team USA at the Olympics this year, they will still feel his presence. The Uninterrupted, a media company co-founded by LeBron James, aimed at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Earlier in July, the IOC came out with a set of rules that warned athletes from political gestures during official ceremonies, competitions, and the Olympic village. They were allowed to express themselves as long as it is in accordance with the ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’.
Tokyo 2020 organising committee vice-president Toshiaki Endo speaks with Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto (R) after the five-party meeting in Tokyo, Japan July 8, 2021. Behrouz Mehri/Pool via REUTERS
Uninterrupted publicly call out the IOC
The company explained to its followers what Rule 50 of the IOC was. They felt that the rule was silencing athletes. The company said that athletes should be able to express themselves and what they stand for. They are being silenced from speaking their truth and bringing attention to the reason they may be competing for.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) July 20, 2021
Rules released by the International Olympic Committee
In July, the International Olympic Committee released guidelines on athletes’ freedom of expression during the games. The IOC said the guidelines offer “further clarity” on the “wide range of opportunities available to them to express their views.”
They will allow athletes to express a political gesture. Prior to the start of a competition, during their introduction, or their team’s introduction. This gesture also has to meet four different criteria.
The Olympic Rings monument is seen outside the Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) headquarters near the National Stadium, the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan June 23, 2021 on the day to mark one month until the opening of the Olympic Games. REUTERS/Issei Kato
It has to be in accordance with the ‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’ they cannot target a certain people, country, organization. They cannot be disruptive and cannot already be banned by a nation’s own Olympic committee or federation.
“When expressing their views, athletes are expected to respect the applicable laws, the Olympic values and their fellow athletes. It should be recognized that any behavior and/or expression that constitutes or signals discrimination, hatred, hostility or the potential for violence on any basis whatsoever is contrary to the Fundamental Principles of Olympism,” the IOC said.