U.S. Hammer thrower Gwen Berry isn’t shying away from defending herself after she sparked controversy by turning away from the flag while the national anthem played at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
It happened Sunday in Eugene, Oregon, where Berry placed third in the hammer event, earning a spot on Team USA for next month’s Tokyo Olympics. As the national anthem was playing, Berry turned away from the American flag and looked toward the stands. She then put a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “activist athlete” over her head.
Afterward, Berry said she wasn’t trying to send a message, only that she wasn’t expecting the “Star-Spangled Banner” to be playing during the ceremony at the winner’s podium, because it typically isn’t done so at such a point in American qualifier events. U.S. Track & Field told Reuters the anthem was played each day at the trials on a pre-arranged schedule. Berry, who was placed on a year-long probation by the U.S. Olympic Committee after raising her fist in protest during the 2019 Pan Am Games, said she believed the anthem was played intentionally to put her in a bad position.
We should note that the USOC sent an open letter to athletes this year saying that “respectful demonstrations on the topic of racial and social justice” would be allowed at the Olympic and Paralympic Trials.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked what President Biden thought of Berry’s stance during her Monday briefing. She said the president supported her right to engage in a peaceful protest.
Unsurprisingly, the tone was quite different on Fox & Friends. Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw said Berry should be kicked off the Olympic team for disrespecting the flag and even added this startling statement:
Watch Crenshaw’s take on the situation below.
Crenshaw mind you, is one of the most outspoken voices on the right constantly railing against cancel culture. Twitter was quick to remind him of that.
Also from The Business Insider:
"Crenshaw has frequently derided cancel culture in media appearances on Fox News and the podcast circuit, calling it a "radical progressive religion."
Crenshaw also made sure to stay on point with the latest GOP culture war talking point, hypothesizing that Berry’s actions are what happens when critical race theory is taught in schools.
“Taking it a couple levels deeper, this is the pathology that occurs when we’re teaching critical race theory in our institutions … It results in these displays of hatred towards our own country, and it’s gotta stop,” Crenshaw said.