John Carlos part of Team USA council on racial, social justice

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John Carlos, who was kicked out of the 1968 Olympics for a podium protest, is now on a Team USA council on racial and social justice.

Carlos and 43 others were announced as members on Friday evening. The council was created in partnership by the USOPC, its athletes’ advisory council, national governing bodies and the U.S. Olympians & Paralympians Association.

The council, comprised mostly of U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, was formed to “address the rules and systems in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements that create barriers to progress,” aiming to end social injustice and cultivate change, according to the USOPC.

The council will “help us confront the issues of racism and discrimination in sport and society,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a release.

By early 2021, the council’s goal is to produce an “action plan,” identifying areas of improvement and developing recommendations.

In June, Carlos and the athletes’ advisory council called on the IOC to abolish the Olympic Charter’s current rule on athlete protests and other forms of expression and develop a new policy. Friday’s announcement did not specifically mention Olympic protest rules while focusing on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states in part, “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Earlier in June, the IOC said its athletes’ commission will talk with athletes around the world to explore how Olympians can express themselves at the Games while keeping the Olympic Charter in mind.

Carlos, 75, is one of eight members of a Team USA protests and demonstrations steering committee.

That group also includes hammer thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imboden, who raised a fist and kneeled, respectively, on podiums at the August 2019 Pan American Games. Berry and Imboden were sent letters of reprimand by Hirshland last summer, along with each receiving probation.

There are three other committees on racism and acts of discrimination, athlete voice and advocacy and institutional awareness and culture change.

The council was announced after athlete town halls, individual discussions with athletes and meetings with outside experts on systemic racial and social injustice in the country.

MORE: Smith, Carlos weigh in on potential athlete demonstrations at Tokyo Olympics

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