Gestures against racism fine but can't be in detriment of others' right to celebrate, says Sebastian Coe

Top athletes across the world have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which gathered steam after the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the USA.

Press Trust of India December 13, 2020 20:54:06 IST
Gestures against racism fine but can't be in detriment of others' right to celebrate, says Sebastian Coe

File image of World Athletics President Sebastian Coe. AP

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe says he is happy to "accommodate" athletes expressing their views against issues like racism but made it clear that such gestures should not infringe on other sportspersons' right to celebrate their moments of glory.

Top athletes across the world have expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, which gathered steam after the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the USA.

However, Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter bans any form of protest including taking a knee, raising a fist or refusing to follow protocol at medal ceremonies. Coe finds nothing wrong in expression of a view.

"It is pretty evident that everybody is reviewing their view about their approach within their own sport. I am very happy for the athletes if they choose to restate their opposition to discrimination or to racism in sport, anti-racist initiatives etc," Coe said in an interaction with PTI.

"I am very happy for that to be accommodated. I am also very clear that any gesture like that or observable gesture needs to be done respectfully and fully recognising that if it is to be on the dais there are also other athletes on the dais who are celebrating their moment of achievement."

He said such expression of views should be "within a framework" and "cannot be in detriment of somebody else's intrinsic enjoyment and celebration of their achievement".

Last Saturday, WA gave President's Award to the iconic athletes famous for their black power pose at the 200m victory ceremony of the 1968 Olympic Games.

Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood with bowed heads, black gloves and raised fists while the Australian silver medallist Peter Norman stood still in one of the most iconic images in world sport.

"Athletics has consistently been in the forefront of thought leadership. It has done so in the past like by Jesse Owens in 1936 Olympics. We also had refugees team in Olympics stadium making observations about all sorts of things," Coe said.

The 64-year-old double Olympic gold-medallist was cautious when asked about the next season amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc on this year's calendar.

"I am hopeful (of next season). I am not sure optimistic is the right word. At last there are elements that give me more comfort, things that are beginning to come together.

"Of course, we have the vaccine. ... I know scientists who warned me to be cautious because the pattern of the virus and changes are complicated.

"I hope we are in a position to deliver as much of (next) season as we possibly can. The centrepiece of that season is to be the Olympic Games in Tokyo."

Asked about the adaptations the athletes may have to make during the Tokyo Olympics, he said, "I hope we have spectators in the stadium but we don't know still, they may be partially full stadiums.

"Whether they (athletes) are going to get used to life in (Athletes) Village where social distancing is probably going to be a problem, where masks may still need to be worn, we don't know. The local organisers and local health team will figure out."

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

LaLiga: Atletico Madrid's fixture against Athletic Bilbao called off due to record snowfall in Spain
Sports

LaLiga: Atletico Madrid's fixture against Athletic Bilbao called off due to record snowfall in Spain

Athletic were unable to land in Madrid because of the extreme weather brought by Storm Filomena on Friday and had to return to Bilbao early in the evening.

India vs Australia: 'Peak of rowdy behaviour', Virat Kohli responds to Indian team facing racist abuse in Sydney
First Cricket News

India vs Australia: 'Peak of rowdy behaviour', Virat Kohli responds to Indian team facing racist abuse in Sydney

On Saturday and Sunday, Siraj and senior bowler Jasprit Bumrah were allegedly subjected to multiple abuses including racist slurs like "Brown Dog" and "Big Monkey", which led to eviction and subsequent arrest of six Australian spectators.

India vs Australia: Disappointing a 'very mild' word for racism, this needs to be dealt with iron fist, says R Ashwin
First Cricket News

India vs Australia: Disappointing a 'very mild' word for racism, this needs to be dealt with iron fist, says R Ashwin

Play was halted for a few minutes on the fourth day of the match after India pacer Mohammed Siraj complained of abuse from a section of the SCG crowd, leading to expulsion of some spectators and an unreserved apology from the host board.