Noah Lyles sends message by raising gloved fist at trials

Jun 20, 2021, 11:38 AM | Updated: Jun 21, 2021, 5:00 pm

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Before the 100-meter final at the Olympic track trials, Noah Lyles raised a gloved fist.

He would not make it to the medals stand, the way Tommie Smith and John Carlos did in 1968. But the starting line Sunday might have been the first of several opportunities for the 23-year-old Lyles to spread his message.

In what went down as the first notable demonstration of the track trials, Lyles made a subtle gesture, wearing a black glove — minus the fingers — on his left hand, and raising his fist when he was introduced before the race.

He wound up seventh, but will be a favorite next weekend in the 200. If he wins there, he’ll be favored to stand on the podium at the Olympics as well.

His message through it all: Black Lives Matter.

“We’re still dying in the streets,” Lyles said after a race won by Trayvon Bromell. “Just because we stopped talking about it in the news or just because the Olympics are going on, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I am Black.”

Lyles has worn a black glove at a race before trials. It resembles those worn by Smith and Carlos, the sprinters whose raised fists on the medals podium in Mexico City stand as the iconic single moment of social protest in sports history.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee — with guidance from its recently formed Council on Racial and Social Justice — determined a few months ago that it would not sanction athletes who use the trials to demonstrate.

These trials, which feature subdued medals ceremonies with no national anthem, are a test run of sorts in the lead-up to the Olympics. In Tokyo, IOC officials say Rule 50, which bans demonstrations inside the lines, will remain in force. But the USOPC has vowed not to punish American athletes who partake in an “acceptable demonstration,” as dictated by their guidelines.

Allowable forms of demonstration include holding up a fist, kneeling during the anthem and wearing hats or face masks with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or words such as “equality” or “justice.”

In the past, Lyles has shown his support for Black Lives Matter through both speech and music. He released a song titled ” A Black Life.”

On SoundCloud, the song is accompanied by a caption: “I always think to myself what more can I do to help spread the word of injustice. This time I decided to use music. This song explains the pain and fear that almost all black people have to deal with in their life.”

He reiterated that message after the race, where he got off to a slow start and finished second-to-last.

“To be honest, you could hear a report about me tomorrow dying for no reason,” Lyles said. “I’m pretty sure some people would be sad. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be the only one — probably another after that, another after that. This needs to stop.”

USA Track and Field has made a number of stickers available to the athletes. Among the messages: “Be Kind,” “Courage,” “Together,” “Respect.” There’s also one with a silhouette of the iconic scene of Smith and Carlos on the medals stand.

“It’s something I believe in,” said Lyles, who’s the reigning world champion in the 200. “I felt like it was important I throw up some symbol. I’ve done it before and I’m going to continue to do it.”

___

https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football ...
Associated Press

NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions

PHOENIX (AP) — From diversity to concussions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league is still looking for improvement. As for officiating, he says: “it’s never been better.” Goodell addressed those topics and more, including the Washington Commanders’ investigation, flex scheduling and international play in his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday. DeMeco Ryans became […]
15 hours ago
CORRECT ID TO MICHAEL SKUBALA , NOT SIMON HOOPER  - Leeds United's interim head coach Michael Skuba...
Associated Press

Man United stages fightback to draw 2-2 with Leeds in EPL

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Leeds in the Premier League on Wednesday. Substitute Jadon Sancho rescued a point for Erik ten Hag’s team, which missed the chance to move level on points with second-place Manchester City. Leeds fired Jesse Marsch on Monday. It is […]
15 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones speaks to the media during the NFL football Super B...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Jones sets sack standard for Kansas City defense

PHOENIX (AP) — Chris Jones claims to have very little memory of a relatively benign game in 2017, when the Kansas City Chiefs welcomed the Philadelphia Eagles to Arrowhead Stadium for the second game of the regular season. Jason Kelce remembers it quite well. The veteran Philadelphia center spent the afternoon lining up alongside Isaac […]
2 days ago
Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin speaks after being introduced as the winner of the Alan Page Community ...
Associated Press

Hamlin appears during Super Bowl event to receive award

PHOENIX (AP) — Damar Hamlin made a brief appearance in Phoenix during Super Bowl week to receive the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. The Buffalo Bills safety received the award at the Phoenix Convention Center on Wednesday, a little over a month after he went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the […]
2 days ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers a question during an NFL football Super Bowl...
Associated Press

Chiefs’ Mahomes says ankle will be ready for Super Bowl

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes says he’s “definitely in a better spot” when it comes to his ailing right ankle than he was for the AFC championship game, and the All-Pro quarterback doesn’t expect to be limited by it when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl. […]
2 days ago
FILE - Las Vegas Aces' Dearica Hamby (5) dribbles up court during a WNBA basketball game against th...
Associated Press

WNBA investigating Hamby’s allegations against Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The WNBA is investigating Dearica Hamby’s allegations that the Las Vegas Aces bullied and manipulated her for being pregnant, the league said in a statement Wednesday. It was the first time the league acknowledged it was looking into the situation. The players’ union had pushed for an inquiry into whether Hamby’s […]
2 days ago
Noah Lyles sends message by raising gloved fist at trials