When Sports Stand Against Human Rights: Regulating Restrictions on Athlete Speech in the Global Sports Arena

Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (2017)

Posted: 28 Feb 2019

Date Written: January 1, 2017

Abstract

Even after the International Olympic Committee’s quick and harsh response to the “black power salute” in the 1968 Olympic Games—positing that the apolitical Olympic Games were not a suitable venue for domestic political statements—athletes continued using their platform to protest human rights violations. Should such conduct be allowed? Are athletes entitled to display their political opinions on the field? Or should athletic organizations be allowed to regulate their athletes’ protests and political speech in the arena? On the one hand, freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. On the other, sports have a long history of remaining apolitical—limiting political expression during games through formal contracts, regulations, and longstanding traditions. While international athletic organizations may have reason to remain politically neutral, this paper recommends that political speech relating to internationally agreed upon, core human rights values should be the exception.

Keywords: sports law, human rights, freedom of speech, international olympic committee, IOC, NGOs

Suggested Citation

Shahlaei, Faraz, When Sports Stand Against Human Rights: Regulating Restrictions on Athlete Speech in the Global Sports Arena (January 1, 2017). Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1 (2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3332884

Faraz Shahlaei (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States

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