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Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee on Thursday said it will no longer prohibit athletes from "peacefully and respectfully demonstrating in support of racial and social justice for all human beings."

Why it matters: The committee in January said that "[n]o kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." Athletes were still allowed to demonstrate or protest at press conferences, in interviews, at team meetings, and on digital and traditional media platforms.

  • The committee further warned that "disciplinary action [would] be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary" for those who violated protest rules.

The big picture: Sporting events have become a common arena for people to protest systemic racism. In the U.S., former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a national conversation on racial injustice when he started to kneel during the national anthem in 2016.

What they're saying: "The USOPC's decision recognized that Team USA athletes serve as a beacon of inspiration and unity globally, and their voices have and will be a force for good and progress in our society," a statement from USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland reads.

  • "In the United States, we need to continue to use the platforms we have available to us to foster discussion, education and action for racial and social justice."

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Sports

Supreme Court to hear cases on NCAA athlete compensation

Tip-off between the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the North Carolina Tar Heels during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 2016. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the NCAA's appeal of lower court rulings that found the association violated antitrust laws by placing limits on education-related compensation for athletes.

Why it matters: The rulings expanded the range of education-related benefits student-athletes could receive. The NCAA claims this "effectively created a pay-for-play system for all student-athletes, allowing them to be paid both 'unlimited' amounts for participating in 'internships'" and an additional $5,600 or more per year of eligibility.

Trump political team disavows "Patriot Party" groups

Marine One carries President Trump away from the White House on Inauguration Day. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Donald Trump's still-active presidential campaign committee officially disavowed political groups affiliated with the nascent "Patriot Party" on Monday.

Why it matters: Trump briefly floated the possibility of creating a new political party to compete with the GOP — with him at the helm. But others have formed their own "Patriot Party" entities during the past week, and Trump's team wants to make clear it has nothing to do with them.