23 Feb Why the IOC ban on protests at Tokyo Games is breathtaking hypocrisy
In a memoir published a few months after Arthur Ashe’s death the tennis champion reflected on one of the most famous demonstrations in sporting history. Tommie Smith and John Carlos made their Black Power salute at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, the year that Ashe won the first US Open. “Although I did not always agree with everything these men had said and done,” he wrote, “I respected the way they had stood tall against the sky and had insisted on being heard on matters other than boxing or track and field.”
Since January, the entertainment industry’s awards season has delivered a barrage of politically inspired protest from A-listers, be they Dave’s takedown of Boris Johnson, Oscar presenters trolling their own event or Joaquin Phoenix’s personal crusade against big dairy. At the same time the International Olympic Committee has issued guidelines banning all forms of protest at the Tokyo Games this summer, be they written signs or gestures such as kneeling during the US anthem.