Sen. Tom Cotton is calling for Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry to be removed from the Olympic roster for turning her back on the U.S. flag during the national anthem over the weekend.
“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,” the Arkansas Republican and former Army infantry officer told Fox News. “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.”
During the Olympic trials over the weekend, Berry turned her back to the U.S. flag while standing on the medal podium as the national anthem played and displayed a shirt that read, “Activist Athlete.”
Berry, who finished in third place, has pledged to speak out during the Olympics about social justice issues in the United States.
“My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” Berry said. “I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today.”
Cotton’s criticism was echoed by several other prominent conservatives, including Rep. Dan Crenshaw, also a military veteran, who also called for Berry to be removed from the Olympic team.
“The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the entire point, OK?” Crenshaw said. “It’s one thing when these NBA players do it [protest during the anthem]. OK, fine, we’ll just stop watching. But now, the Olympic team — and it’s multiple cases of this. They should be removed. That should be the bare minimum requirement, is that you believe in the country you’re representing.”
The White House took a different position and suggested it is patriotic to support Berry’s protest.
“He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country is recognizing there are moments where we, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said about Biden’s position on the protest. “And it means respecting the right of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”
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Original Author: Andrew Mark Miller