Congratulations to the International Olympic Committee, which has again demonstrated it believes it has exclusive domain over injecting politics into the Games.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, the IOC has made it clear to Olympians that any political statement made during this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo will result in stiff penalties.
Athletes who [protest] “will be evaluated by their respective national Olympic committee, international federation and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary,” officials said.
The IOC’s argument that politics and sports do not mix is undermined time and again by the organization’s decisions. In this situation, the IOC resembles the parent who warns the child to behave nicely or else.
The “disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary” leaves the IOC ripe for criticism that it will go easy on favored countries or athletes while being less tolerant of any rebels. (Russia comes to mind.)
Autocrats and dictators around the world will rejoice in the tamping down on free expression. That’s the lot the IOC appears eager to join.