Protests are against the rules at the Olympics

(Photo courtesy Nexstar Broadcasting)

(NEXSTAR) – You’ve seen a lot of stories about athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The first athlete to do it said it was his way to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

But recently it’s morphed into something else.

During week three of the NFL season every game had some type of protest during the national anthem. That was the players’, and in many cases owners’ responses to comments made a couple of days prior by President Donald Trump. He suggested NFL players who kneel during the national anthem be fired.

“No matter what’s going on in the world right now, politically, in the U.S. I take a lot of pride in my country,” said Mikaela Shiffrin, 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist.

“One of the best things about our country is freedom of speech,” said Jason Brown, 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist. “The fact that we’re from all different walks of life… sports is one of the things that unite us all.”

And that’s especially true when it comes to the Olympics. One country, one team.

Believe it or not, it’s actually against the rules to protest at the Olympics. It’s written in the Olympic Charter.

“I honestly believe that as Olympians, we are in a slightly different category than professional sports. We get to compete for the United States of America every four years,” said Julia Mancuso, 4-time Olympic medalist.

It’s also worth pointing out that the only time the national anthem is played at the Olympics is when an American wins a gold medal.

“How we represent our team and our country, I don’t expect that to be an issue,” said Tony Granato, Head Coach, U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team. “And I look forward to when we do win the gold medal, having to deal with a situation like that if it does happen.”

Something did happen in 1968. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute. And last year in Rio, a marathon runner from Ethiopia crossed his arms and raised them above his head.

The Winter Olympics are just 126 days away. You’ll be able to watch the competition right here on KSN and NBC.