Gwen Berry: Calls for athlete to be cut from Team USA grow amid flag and anthem backlash

Hammer thrower Gwen Berry had turned away from the US flag as the national anthem played at Olympic trials

                            Gwen Berry: Calls for athlete to be cut from Team USA grow amid flag and anthem backlash
Gwendolyn Berry (L) turns away from US flag during the National Anthem as DeAnna Price (C), first place, and Brooke Andersen, second place, also stand on the podium (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry has now faced a lot of criticism after she reportedly turned her back on American flag while the national anthem was played during a medal ceremony at the US Olympic trials on Saturday, June 26. She also apparently put her black t-shirt over her head with the words 'Activist Athlete' written over it.

While the 31-year-old immediately defended herself by saying, “I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose. I was pissed, to be honest.” But her actions left politicians and commentators fuming with anger. Republican and former governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker tweeted, “What is wrong with people? Growing up, everyone stood for the American flag. Didn't matter your politics, race, sex, income, religion; everyone stood for the flag. It was one of those civic rituals that brought us together. It still should today.”


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Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote, “Why does the Left hate America? Sure, we have our faults, but no nation in the history of the world has liberated more people from captivity, has lifted more out of poverty, has bled more for freedom, or has blessed more w/ abundance. God bless America.” And, Vic DeGrammont, a Republican congressional candidate in Florida, suggested: “If you can't respect the flag or anthem then you shouldn't be allowed to complete.”


Gwendolyn Berry (L), third place, turns away from US flag during the US National Anthem as DeAnna Price (C), first place, and Brooke Andersen, second place, also stand on the podium after the Women's Hammer Throw final on day nine of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 26, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)


Opinion writer Josh Jordan made fun of Berry’s allegation that “it was set-up.” He tweeted, “Yes, the US Olympics committee spent their time meticulously planning to make sure that the national anthem was played at the exact moment she was on the podium… because everyone knows the Olympics is all about (checks tweet) Gwen Berry.” Wrestler Tyrus Murdoch also expressed his views over the whole controversy as he told Fox News, “We've had some issues in this country especially as a black man when I go to Tommy Smith, John Carlos, Jessie Owens who they had issues, they fought, they wanted dignity, but they also wanted a seat at the table.”


“They wanted to show how much they loved their country, how much they belong, and human rights issues and they fought for it. This isn't it. Even if we are taking a knee on the baseball game, I have no problem with a professional athlete being a citizen, taking a respectful knee during the flag if that's what you choose to do while still honoring the flag, I have no issue...[But] why are you even competing in the Olympics if you hate the flag and the country so much? If it's such a horrible place, why are you doing it?” Murdoch added.

But Berry fired back by tweeting: “These comments really show that: 1.) people in American (sic) rally patriotism over basic morality. 2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax. I never said I hate this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can't. That's why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE.”



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