I’m not sure if any of you are following the “#Rule40″ tweet campaign that the US track and field athletes started on Twitter, which has since spread to athletes from around the world. Basically, Rule 40 “is the section in the athletes’ code of conduct that warns anyone flouting the strict guidelines on the use of social media as a promotional tool will be expelled from the Games,” according to Yahoo! Sports.
Anyway, Yahoo had a story come out today talking about Rule 40 and the American-led revolt, where they mentioned that athletes taking part in the campaign risk disqualification from the IOC not just for tweeting about their sponsors, but for criticizing the IOC.
The story goes on to tell about how US track star Sanya Richards-Ross got in on the action, and then talks about how a US racewalker is effected by the change. I’m not really sure how she is affected, but she says she is.
“I have no big brand corporate sponsor who gives me free gear, pays me a salary and gives me a bonus for making it to events like the Olympics,” she said.
Anyway, the point of this story isn’t all that, it’s the quote I noticed near the end of the article:
“I am honored to be an Olympian,” U.S. javelin thrower Kara Patterson added. “But I can’t tweet about my only sponsor.”
As I’m sure you know, Patterson is a former Purdue student-athlete. Her inclusion in this protest COULD lead to disqualification, as earlier mentioned. The IOC hadn’t commented on the protest as of Monday afternoon, but I’m going to venture a guess that they’re not happy with the movement. Rich guys that control organizations like the NCAA, NBA, NFL, IOC, whatever, don’t tend to like uprisings.
I doubt Patterson ends up being disqualified and I support the athlete’s bids to get this rule overturned, but I have to question whether using this platform AND risking disqualification when representing your country is a risk worth taking? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.