Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called for US Olympic track and field athlete Gwen Berry to be removed from the Olympic team after she turned her back on the American flag while the national anthem played after she qualified with a bronze at the Olympic trials in Oregon.
“I don’t think it’s too much, when athletes are competing to wear the Stars and Stripes — to compete under the Stars and Stripes in the Olympics — for them to simply honor that flag and our anthem on the medal stand,” Cotton said.
“If Ms. Berry is so embarrassed by America, then there’s no reason she needs to compete for our country. She should be removed from the Olympic team.” Cotton echoed earlier calls from Rep. Dan Crenshaw who also wants her removed from the team.
Ainsley Earhardt asked Dan yesterday, “Dan, what was your reaction? You fought for our country to the Olympic hammer thrower, Gwen Berry; she turned her back on the flag during the anthem and put a black t-shirt over her face that said ‘Activist athlete?’”
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said. “She should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the entire point, okay?”
Crenshaw continued: “This is one thing when we see NBA players do it, okay fine; we’ll just stop watching, but now the Olympic team? It’s multiple cases of this.
“They should be removed.
“That should be the bare minimum requirement is that you believe in the country representing.
“This is the pathology that occurs when we’re teaching critical race theory into our institutions, because critical race theory, again, basically teaches that our institutions are racist, that our systems are deeply racist.
“You can’t see the racism, because it’s subtle, but and if you deny it, it’s because of you teaching people this constantly, and this is what it results in.
“In these displays of hatred towards our own country and it’s got to stop,” Crenshaw said.
On social media, Berry has acknowledged a slew of criticism following her actions. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw are also among her critics, the latter calling for the 32-year-old to be removed from the Olympic team.
“I never said that I didn’t want to go to the Olympic Games. That’s why I competed and got third and made the team,” Berry told CNN affiliate Black News Channel on Monday.
“I never said that I hated the country, never said that. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people point blank, period.”
Berry also said that there was no prior mention of the anthem being played while the athletes were on the podium, hence why she thought it was a setup. During the trials, the anthem has been played once each evening.
“The intent was we would be introduced to the crowd either before or after the singing of the national anthem,” said Berry. “If we had the option, or if I knew that I was going to be on the podium, I would have chosen something else.”
Asked about Berry’s actions on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she hadn’t spoken to President Joe Biden about the incident.
Dan Crenshaw calls for Gwen Berry to be removed from the Olympic team because she turned away from the flag pic.twitter.com/c2xWKLXPPJ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 28, 2021