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The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers have banned their social media teams from sharing photos of athletes participating in peaceful protest at the Games, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
The report comes hours after five women's soccer teams kneeled on the pitch prior to their group-stage matches. The USWNT, Sweden, Team Great Britain, Chile and New Zealand players all took a knee in protest of racism and online hate, an action that was broadcast live on TV. It was not, however, shared to any of the IOC or Tokyo 2020 social channels.
Social media teams were instructed to not share photos of such actions on Tuesday night, prior to the matches occurring, according to The Guardian.
On July 2, the IOC announced it was loosening its restrictions on athlete protests at the Games through Rule 50. Athletes are now allowed to express their views on the field prior to competition as long as their actions are not targeted against people, disruptive or prohibited in any way by national Olympic committees or international federations.
Protests in the Olympic village, during opening or closing ceremonies and on the medal stand are still barred.
The USWNT is no stranger to pushing boundaries. After former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016, soccer star Megan Rapinoe was one of the first athletes in another sport to follow suit.
In February, though, the team resumed standing during the anthem, despite U.S. Soccer repealing its policy requiring players to do so. Crystal Dunn said the team was "doing the work behind the scenes."
Great Britain and Chile were the first two teams to take a knee at the Olympics. Members of the men's team recently faced online racist attacks following its loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
"As players in Great Britain, we've been taking a knee in club and international matches and we felt strongly as a group that we wanted to show support for those affected by discrimination and inequality," Steph Houghton, one of Team GB's captains, said after the match.
Contact Emily Leiker at email@example.com or on Twitter @emleiker
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tokyo 2020, IOC social accounts can't run Olympic protest pics: report