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A Letter To Team USA Athletes From Moushaumi Robinson

By Moushaumi Robinson | Dec. 10, 2020, 11 a.m. (ET)

 

Team USA athletes, 
 
On behalf of the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice, I write you today to provide an update on the work of the Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee, which was charged with assessing the current policies of International Olympic Committee Rule 50 and International Paralympic Committee Handbook Section 2.2 and offering alternate options as it relates to protests and demonstrations within a Games environment. 
 
In collaboration with representatives from the athlete community, Athletes’ Advisory Council, National Governing Bodies, U.S. Olympians & Paralympians Association, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and industry and academic thought leaders, the Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee believes it is a human right to peacefully call upon racial and social injustices during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Furthermore, the Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee believes that denying the right of respectful demonstrations to athletes, particularly those from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, runs counter to the Olympic and Paralympic values. 
 
Today is a powerful day for U.S. athletes – former, current and future. The Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee today shared its recommendations regarding IOC Rule 50 and IPC Section 2.2 with the IOC and IPC. The recommendations, released on International Human Rights Day, are built on the foundation that athletes have a human right to use their voice to call upon racial and social injustices, and that peaceful protests and demonstrations can be a catalyst for change. We will continue to work with the USOPC as we wait for the final ruling from the IOC and IPC on this subject matter. 
 

The recommendations are built on the foundation that athletes have a human right to use their voice to call upon racial and social injustices, and that peaceful protests and demonstrations can be a catalyst for change.

Moushaumi Robinson, Track & Field

Though the IOC and IPC remain the arbiter of the rule within the Games environments, the recommendations also call on the USOPC and NGBs to support athletes by adhering to a policy that does not sanction athletes who conduct peaceful demonstrations aimed at advancing human rights and racial and social justice initiatives. 
 
While the Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee will continue to advise and engage in this space, the Council will activate its second steering committee, focused on athlete voice and expression, to continue identifying ways in which the voices of athletes can be amplified via the various platforms in the national and international Olympic and Paralympic movements. Following that work, the third steering committee will focus on institutional awareness and cultural change related to USOPC and NGB diversity and hiring policies, followed by the fourth steering committee focused on racism and acts of discrimination within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements. 
 
The Protests and Demonstrations Steering Committee values your input and feedback to the recommendations, and we plan to issue a survey to solicit your feedback in the coming weeks. 
 
Be well, 
 
Moushaumi Robinson  
Chair, Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice
Leadership Member, Athletes’ Advisory Council
2004 Olympic gold medalist, track and field

 

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Click here to read the Council and USOPC’s press release on Dec. 10.