On a day the Los Angeles Olympic organizing committee unveiled an interactive logo it hopes will represent the diversity of the city, the chairman of LA2028 reiterated the need to push for a change to the long-standing rule that bars political protests on the medals stand.
“I don’t believe anti-racist speech is political speech,” Casey Wasserman said. “I believe it is a political standard we all need to be operating on.”
Wasserman has sent a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach outlining his position and the need for reform of Rule 50, which bans protests on the medals stand — the most famous of which came from U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968. A group of U.S. athletes has begun meeting to discuss social inequality, with one of its many goals a review of the protest rule.
Los Angeles introduced its logo on Tuesday — featuring a black “L” and a “28” being paired with the letter “A,” which is designed to show up in almost any color, shape or configuration as a way of representing the diversity of the LA community.
A dynamic logo is a first-of-its-kind attempt, one being unveiled by an Olympic organization that still has nearly eight years before its games take place.
The postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic came during a summer in which race relations across the United States have sparked calls for changes that have reverberated throughout sports. The Olympics have long been one of slowest to move on social issues. Bach has convened a working group of athletes to discuss Rule 50.
Wasserman, who spent most of the introductory Zoom call discussing the logo, was asked about his push for systemic changes in the Olympics. He said that while athletes must lead the movement, “I urge president Bach to be both thoughtful and aggressive in moving toward that result.”
“While the rule probably exists for a reason, the times are different and, I think, (the rule) requires adjusting, which allows for anti-racist speech within the Olympic and Paralympic platform,” Wasserman said.