The US track star who snubbed the Stars and Stripes at the Olympic trials complained that critics “are obsessed” with her — even as the backlash against her continued Monday.
“At this point,” hammer thrower Gwen Berry wrote on Twitter, “y’all are obsessed with me.”
Berry, 31, has not been shy about sharing her views on racial injustice in the past, but now faces a firestorm after turning her back on the flag during the national anthem at the Olympic track and field trials in Oregon.
“I never said I hated this country!” she wrote in another tweet. “People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE.”
But Berry is still taking heat for turning her back on the flag on the award podium after taking third place in the hammer toss and securing a spot on Team USA — with one lawmaker calling for her to be booted from the team heading to the Tokyo Olympics.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” US Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said on “Fox & Friends.” “She should be replaced from the team.”
“The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America,” said Crenshaw, a former US Navy SEAL. “It’s the entire point.”
“So, it’s one thing when these NBA players do it,” he added. “Okay. we’ll just stop watching. But now the Olympic team?”
Crenshaw’s comments followed a barrage of criticism against Berry over the weekend, including in a tweet by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) late Sunday.
Cruz posted a photo of Berry with her back turned during the medal ceremony, with the caption, “Why does the Left hate America?”
“Sure, we have our faults, but no nation in the history of the world has liberated more people from captivity, has lifted more out of poverty, has bled more for freedom, or has blessed more w/abundance,” Cruz wrote.
“God bless America.”
Other and less high-profile Twitter users also took aim at Berry.
“Gwen Berry should not be allowed to participate in the Olympics if she hates our Country so much!” user Bridget Harlan tweeted Monday. “Send a more deserving Athlete who will serve USA proudly. You know… a Patriot!”
Berry said after the flag snub that she was “pissed” because she felt meet organizers set her up by playing the anthem while she was on the podium.
The controversy comes after the International Olympic Committee last year cautioned athletes against political displays at the Tokyo Games, which were originally planned to be held last year before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world,” the IOC said in a statement in January 2020.
“This is why it is important, on both a personal and global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations,” the statement said.
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