Daily Beast says Olympics Black Power athletes are owed an apology

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tags: Olympics, black power



Forty-eight years ago, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood together on a podium during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and carried out one of the most powerful silent protests the sporting world had ever seen.

The two sprinters, who had just won gold and bronze, respectively, in the men’s 200-meter race, waited for the National Anthem to begin, before bowing their heads and each raising a black-gloved fist in the air. Their act of political subversion was a response to International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage’s support of apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia, Brundage’s and the IOC’s history of racism and anti-Semitism, as well as a show of solidarity with victims of human-rights abuses around the world.

The protest promptly earned them both a suspension from the U.S. Track and Field team and a tidal wave of “shut-up-and-play-the-game” histrionics from American sportswriters, who were still clinging to the age-old sports journalism trope that athletes—especially black athletes—should comment on little more than home runs and touchdowns.




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