Australian basketball player Patty Mills said on Thursday that teams could find strength in getting on their knees or wearing the indigenous flag before the Australian women’s football team plays on Wednesday.
Several women’s football teams, including Britain, New Zealand, the United States and Sweden, took to their knees before their games in Tokyo on Wednesday in support of racial equality.
Matildas chose to unfurl the flag of the first people of Australia.
“In team sports, it’s very common for successful teams to do certain things together to build teammate,” Mills, the 2014 NBA champion with Indigenous heritage, told reporters.
“Last night (in the Australian game) it seemed like a team thing that everyone was behind. No matter what they do they should not be distracted from the game they played last night.”
Australia beat their Group G opener 2-1 against New Zealand.
“It’s one thing as a team, it’s the little things you try to find a bond with,” Mills said, adding that his team has yet to discuss whether they will do anything similar.
Black players on the England men’s team have been subjected to online racist abuse this month following their Euro 2020 final defeat, with widespread condemnation from the team’s captain, manager, royalty, religious leaders and politicians.
Rule 50 of the International Olympic Committee prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or ethnic propaganda” in the 50 Games, but under increasing pressure, the Olympic organization recently relaxed it for the Tokyo Games.
In addition to press conferences and interviews, athletes can express themselves on the field of play, as long as other competitors are not affected by their gestures.
Any resistance such as kneeling on stage or raising a fist is prohibited.
At the Tokyo Olympics, which officially opens on Friday, there will be no fans on the stand due to the corona virus infection.
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