Media Press Release

Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice releases second set of recommendations, identifying ways to enhance athlete expression in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements



Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justicewith support of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the Athletes’ Advisory Council and the United States Olympians Paralympians Association, today released its second set of recommendations related to athlete expression and advocacy. The recommendations communicate that systematic change within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements must start with athlete expression as a foundation in decision-making, support services, procedures, practices and policies of the organizations that help govern the athlete experience.

The Athlete Expression and Advocacy Steering Committee's recommendations continue to enhance foundation that empowers athlete expression and creates an environment through continuous and systematic efforts which lead to meaningful change.The recommendations will elevate the expression and advocacy of athletes from historically silenced, marginalized or minoritized groups within the Olympic and Paralympic community.

“The expressions of Team USA athletes have the power to make impactful, lasting change in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements, and the Council calls on the USOPC and National Governing Bodies to work collaboratively with us and act on the recommendations brought forth today,” said Moushaumi Robinson, 2004 Olympic gold medalist in track and field, and chair of the Council. 

The recommendations identify opportunities for change in the areas of support, communication, education and protection for athletes from historically silenced, marginalized or minoritized groups, some of which include: 

Support:The Council recommends the USOPC and affiliated organizations provide support services beyond athletic development, including legal support for athletes facing discrimination, career and professional services following an athlete’s athletic career, and financial literacy learning opportunities for athletes. 

Communication:The Council identifies ways in which the USOPC and affiliated organizationscanincrease internal and external communicationopportunities for athletes. The recommendations identify external communication tactics such as training athletes to use their platform for racial and social justice, while internal communication tactics include creating an organizational statement of commitment to racial and social justice from the USOPC, NGB and AAC leadership, and developing a tool to report violations of the non-discrimination policies.

Education:The Council calls on the USOPC and affiliated organizations to create educational opportunities for athletes, coaches, USOPC representatives and NGB staff that address topics including systematic racism, social injustice, bias and microaggressions, in addition to sexual, emotional and physical violence trainings. 

Protection:The Council articulates the need for more intentional actions related to athlete protection, calling on the USOPC and affiliated organizations to create a no retaliation policy to protect athletes who report instances of discrimination, abuse, harassment and/or harm, as well as creating an accountability mechanism for discriminatory acts and sentiments that protect athletes from harm, abuse and harassment. 

The complete set of recommendations can be found here.

“The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community is growing stronger through the recommendations of the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice," said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. "Bringing these thoughtful recommendationsto life in actionable ways will have a real impact, and I look forward to advancing this important work."

The recommendations conclude by identifying how the USOPC and NGBs can allow for athlete expression at upcoming U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, further allowing athletes to be a driving force in making change by joining the national and global movements for racial and social justice.

Each item within the recommendation was thoroughly discussed and reviewed to ensure athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements have the mechanisms to express themselves freely and safely,” said Tiffini Grimes, deputy athletics director, senior woman administrator and chief diversity officer at the University of Alabama, and external expert on the Athlete Expression and Advocacy Steering Committee. 

The Athlete Expression and Advocacy Steering Committee, one of four committees that constitutes the Council, was charged with recognizing ways in which athlete expression can be further elevated within the community. The steering committee worked in collaboration with representatives from the athlete community, AAC,USOPA,NGB, USOPC, and industry and academic thought leaders. The committee gathered data and qualitative input, including an analysis of the opinions of Team USA athletes.

The first steering committee focused on protests and demonstrations released its recommendationin December 2020. The third steering committee will focus on institutional awareness and cultural change related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the USOPC and NGBs, followed by the fourth steering committee focused on racism and acts of discrimination within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic movements.

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