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According to a report from the Guardian on Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers have banned social media teams from showing athletes taking a knee in protest during the games.

According to the Guardian:

An insider said the message was delivered from on high on Tuesday evening Tokyo time, with a specific reference to Team GB’s women’s first football match against Chile, just hours before it kicked off in Sapporo on Wednesday.

The image of both teams taking the knee beforehand, in a protest against racism and online hate, was seen on live TV and the gesture was then followed by United States and Sweden players as well as those from New Zealand.

However none of these powerful pictures were posted on the official Tokyo 2020 live blog, or its Facebook and Twitter pages, or its Instagram site, which has more than half a million followers. They were also not seen on any of the IOC’s social channels.

(Getty Images)

Some thought that the IOC’s recent relaxing of Rule 50, which prohibited any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas,” would pave the way for more highly visible athlete protests. However, with the images of those protests reportedly blocked by social media teams at the events, it appears that an increase in the ability to protest doesn’t necessarily come with an increase in protest platforms.

Megan Rapinoe

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) took a knee before their Tuesday game against Sweden, a contest that saw the U.S. women’s 44-game unbeaten streak snapped after a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Swedes.

When asked about the protests by both the US, Swedish, and British women’s national soccer teams, IOC President Thomas Bach stressed that the protests were “no violation of Rule 50.”

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