The IOC has said the rule aims to ensure that the focus at the Olympic Games remains on athletes’ performances.
The letter acknowledges the amendment as a signal the IOC is “open to continued engagement.” But it claims the changes do not “reflect a commitment to freedom of expression as a fundamental human right nor to racial and social justice in global sport.”
It states: “We believe the global sport community is at a turning point in matters of racial and social justice, and we call on you as leaders in the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to make a stronger commitment to human rights, racial/social justice, and social inclusion.”
‘A fundamental human right’
Berry, who is slated to begin her Olympic competition on July 31, tweeted her support of the petition on Thursday, saying, “We need to take a STAND.”
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper in the UK on Thursday, British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith also called on the IOC to remove the ban, saying: “Protesting and expressing yourself is a fundamental human right.”
“If you were to penalize someone for standing up against racial inequality how on earth would that go? How on earth are you going to enforce that?”
“When people feel strongly about something, particularly when it’s something that’s so close to your heart — and as a black woman you think about racism — I just think you can’t police people’s voice on that. That’s an incredibly difficult thing to do.”
CNN has reached out to the IOC for comment.