White House Defends Olympians “Protesting” Anthem As GOP Leaders Urge Ban On “Activist Athletes”
Amid a growing list of examples of US Olympians using the spotlight for “activism” when it comes to respect or lack thereof shown toward the American flag or anthem, we earlier predicted there’s very likely more to come as the games soon kick off in Tokyo. This is especially likely now that the White House has weighed in to defend Gwen Berry, who will represent the US in the hammer throw at the summer games.
On Monday Fox News’ Peter Doocy raised the issue with the Biden White House of athletes using moments like the playing of the national anthem to “protest” before a global audience. “This weekend, Gwen Berry who is supposed to represent the United States as an Olympian on the hammer throwing events won a bronze medal at the Trials, and then she turned her back on the flag while the anthem played,” he questioned press secretary Jen Psaki. “Does President Biden think that is appropriate behavior for someone who is supposed to represent Team USA?”
Psaki began by saying that Biden is “incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem.” She added that the present also respects “men and women serving in uniform all around the world.”
But then she defended Berry’s back-turning moment during the track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon days ago, which has since sparked immense controversy and anger…
“He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we as a country haven’t lived up to our highest ideals, and it means respecting the right of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest,” she explained, defending the 31-year old Olympic athlete’s protest.
The Associated Press had earlier described of the Saturday incident: “While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and shuffled her feet. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag.”
“Does president Biden think that is appropriate behavior for someone who is supposed to represent Team USA?”
Any answer other than “no” is frankly unacceptable.
— JON MILLER (@MillerStream) June 28, 2021
She then put a black T-shirt over her face which said in large text “Activist Athlete”.
A number of Congressional Republicans, also including Tom Cotton, demanded that Berry be banned from representing the USA in Tokyo this summer…
If you won’t stand proudly for the anthem, you don’t deserve to stand for Team USA.
Gwen Berry should be BANNED from the Olympics! https://t.co/nflrt8pmII
— Representative Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) June 28, 2021
Though she was clearly ready with the T-shirt to bring out, she’s blaming Olympic trials event organizers at the stadium for setting her up, who she claims were trying to provoke a reaction in order to mire her in controversy. However, stadium officials in Eugene, Oregon – where it occurred – have said they played the anthem shortly after 5pm every evening of the track and field trials.
Tue, 06/29/2021 – 08:14