Olympian Gwen Berry turned away from the flag during the national anthem on the medal podium during the Olympic trials over the weekend. She draped a t-shirt over her face because she felt the timing that the national anthem was played was a "set up."
"They" are MADT. But, Olympian Gwen Berry doesn’t care.
Over the weekend, hammer thrower Gwen Berry protested during the national anthem amid the U.S. Olympic trials on Saturday. While standing on the medal podium to accept her bronze medal in the hammer throw, the national anthem began to play and the outspoken athlete was NOT feeling it. And she made it known.
The "Activist Athlete" turned her back to the American flag as the national anthem was being played at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She then held up a t-shirt that had "Activist Athlete" written across the front. Hmph.
So check it…
Unlike the Olympics, the national anthem is not played during medal ceremonies at the Olympic trials. It’s reportedly played once per day at a specific time. The timing of the national anthem just happened to coincide with when Gwen Berry took the podium. And sis isn’t a stranger to protesting the national anthem (she famously protested during the anthem in the 2019 Pan American Games), so she feels like they did it on PURPOSE.
“I feel like it was set up,” Gwen told The Washington Post. “I feel like they did that on purpose, and I was pissed, to be honest. I was thinking about what should I do. Eventually, I just stayed there and just swayed. I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful. I know they did that on purpose, but it’ll be all right. I see what’s up.”
And she isn’t backing down because she’s tired of folks playing in her face…
Stop playing with me pic.twitter.com/WLN3clqOCM
— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) June 27, 2021
"Stop playing with me," she tweeted.
Thank you! I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE. https://t.co/fbKB5d9H2I
— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) June 28, 2021
Gwen Berry – who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics – has been responding to the criticism on social media, letting people know she doesn’t HATE America.
"I never said I hated this country!" she said in another tweet. "People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE."
Republicans are pissed. Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw said she should be removed from the team. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted some BS that you can read below:
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. https://t.co/7hH1FMzEn0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 28, 2021
And former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker threw in his unsolicited two cents:
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. https://t.co/sCidRZr05T
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) June 27, 2021
Well, they can stay mad because Gwen said she will continue to advocate for racial justice in the U.S.
"My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports," she said. "I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today."
A reporter asked White House Press secretary Jen Psaki about Gwen’s protest. She said although she hadn’t spoken to President Biden about it specifically, she defended Gwen’s actions:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry “peaceful protest” who turned away from the American flag as the national anthem was playing
“It means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest” pic.twitter.com/ztADFy83dt
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) June 28, 2021
“I know [Biden is] incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world,” Psaki said. “He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals. And it means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”
And that’s that on THAT.
Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel