Outspoken black militant athlete Gwen Berry turned her back on the American flag as the national anthem was played at the Olympic track and field trials in the United States this weekend.
Hammer thrower Berry also put her T-shirt over her head in protest against racism after receiving a bronze medal on Saturday during trials in Eugene, Oregon. The jersey said “Activist athlete”.
Unlike the Olympics, where the anthem of an athlete’s nation is played when medals are awarded, the Trials anthem is only played once per night.
Berry told reporters it felt like a “set-up” that the anthem was played while she was on the podium, given her well-known views against racism in the country.
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the timing, according to the Associated Press. She said the anthem was supposed to be played before the athletes came out, but was then played when they were on the podium. “I was pissed off, to be honest.”
“I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because it’s not important,” Berry said. “The anthem does not speak for me. He never did.
Berry told reporters that his “purpose and mission” is “bigger than sport.” I’m here to represent those … who have died of systemic racism.
“What I have to do is speak on behalf of my community, represent my community and help my community. Because it’s more important than sport, ”she added.
A spokesperson for USA Track and Field told ESPN that the anthem is played at a set time each day, and “we didn’t wait for the athletes to be on the podium.”
The other two hammer throw winners, first place winner DeAnna Price and runner-up Brooke Andersen, remained on the podium facing the flag with their hands on their hearts.
An overwhelming number of people who responded to Berry’s tweets about the incident were positive. Not surprisingly, Fox News and former right-wing Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker complained.
“What’s wrong with these people?” Walker asked.
The former head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, pointed out to Walker that what is actually unpatriotic is lying about the presidential elections and “inciting insurgencies”.
Berry personally responded to Fox News on Twitter.
Berry and American fencer Race Imboden were each sentenced to 12 months probation in 2019 by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee for protesting social injustice in the United States at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru this year. -the. Berry raised his fist at the medal ceremony after winning there.
Last year, the USOPC publicly and privately apologized to Berry, and officials changed the rules to allow protests at national events.
Donald Trump criticized American athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice. He won’t be able to attack Berry from a White House platform now.
In other Olympic Trials news, Gabby Thomas became the second-fastest woman of all time in the 200-meter race, winning the final in 21.61 seconds. Grant Holloway won the 110 meter hurdles. His time of 12.81 in the semifinals was just 0.01 off the world record.
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