Gwen Berry will join her American compatriots in Tokyo for this year’s Summer Olympics as part of the talented U.S. Track and Field team after qualifying in trials this past weekend. Berry, who is a medal-winning world record holder in the hammer throw event, protested the National Anthem during a medal ceremony at the trials and MAGA Twitter is highly upset as expected.
Berry, 31, has used her platform as an athlete to immerse herself in activism and non-violent protests, doing so in 2019 at the cost of losing sponsorships and endorsements along with a year-long probation from protesting levied by the International Olympic Committee. Berry has also influenced the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to alter its rules on protests while not flat-out banning the act.
This past Saturday in Eugene, Ore., Berry was third among a number of competitors vying for a spot to compete for the United States in the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics, which will go underway this coming July as reported by the Washington Post. After Berry joined her teammates at the podium to receive their medals, the National Anthem began to play and Berry turned her body away and then placed a shirt over her face emblazoned with the words “Activist” Athlete.”
According to the Post, Berry did not intend to protest but also didn’t expect the anthem to be played at that moment as it typically is only played once a night at the qualifying events and isn’t even played at every Olympic medal ceremony. Berry was sidelined by the news that the anthem would be played just before taking the podium by an official on the ground.
“I feel like it was setup,” Berry said. “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.”
Berry isn’t deterred at all and says she’ll continue to use her position as a visible professional athlete to call attention to the effect systemic racism continues to have on Black and brown communities.
“It’s really important for me and my community just to be able to represent,” Berry stated “I think sports is a distraction. Sports is entertainment. But my purpose and my voice and mission is bigger than the sport. So me being able to represent my communities and my people and those who have died at the hands of police brutality, those who have died to this systemic racism, I feel like that’s the important part.”
It goes without saying that Gwen Berry is now a target of conservative pundits and online blather about respecting the flag and other such nonsense. Even Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, you know, the guy who went somewhere warm while his state froze, had a comment to make that should’ve stayed in his drafts folder.
Check out the reaction on Twitter from all sides below.
Oh yeah, conservative media said these folks were just “scared.”
Tijuana Ted up here trying to spin things again.
We hope they see this.