How does a “neutral” rule become a systemic barrier to racial justice? Human rights activism, International Olympic Committee Rule 50, and the neutrality myth in racialized organizations

Yannick Kluch, Debbie Sharnak, Scott Brooks, Stacey M. Alvarez Flores, Anthony Weems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study focuses on the International Olympic Committee’s Rule 50 – a policy prohibiting athlete protest at the Games – as its site of analysis to examine how sport policy becomes contested terrain when being utilized by those in power to reinforce an unjust status quo. Specifically, we drew from critical discourse analysis and Ray’s Theory of Racialized Organizations to better understand how discourses of the neutrality of sport allow for the rule to be utilized to perpetuate hegemonic norms that silence activism among athletes and disguise unequal power relations in global sport governance. Through analysis of the contemporary discourses surrounding the IOC’s recent Rule 50 consultation, we found that those calling for keeping the rule intact framed the issue as an organizational integrity issue, whereas those calling for abolishment and amendments framed the rule as a human rights issue. As such, we critique the continuing effect of the neutrality myth in global sport governance – a harmful racist myth perpetuated by those governing Olympic sport that rests on the false claim of Olympic idealism being free from politics and social ills.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSport Management Review
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Apr 27 2024

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How does a “neutral” rule become a systemic barrier to racial justice? Human rights activism, International Olympic Committee Rule 50, and the neutrality myth in racialized organizations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this