Republicans Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Sen. Tom Cotton are calling on Team USA to cut hammer thrower Gwen Berry for protesting the flag and national anthem over the weekend.
Berry qualified to represent the United States at the Olympics on Saturday, placing third in the hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. While she was on stage receiving her medal, the anthem began to play at a pre-set time. Berry turned her back to the flag and held up a t-shirt that read “Activist Athlete.”
“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 on Fox News on Monday. “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.”
Crenshaw made similar comments in an interview on Fox News
“We don’t need any more ‘activist athletes.’ She should be removed from the team. You know, the entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the entire point, okay?” Crenshaw said Monday. “It’s one thing when these NBA players do it. 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.”
Both men served in the military, Crenshaw as a Navy SEAL and Cotton as a Ranger-qualified member of the Army.
The anthem is pre-scheduled to play each day at the trials. On Saturday, the anthem was scheduled for 5:20 p.m.
Berry said she felt like the anthem playing while she was on the podium receiving her bronze medal was a “setup.”
“I feel like it was setup,” Berry said after her protest. “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.”
“It was funny because they said they were going to play it before we walked out,” she added. “It just happened they played it when we were out there. So, you know, it’s okay. I really don’t want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The anthem don’t speak for me. It never has.”
Berry’s protest caused an uproar online. As The Daily Wire reported:
Her stunt caused an uproar on social media with many questioning why Berry would want to represent a country she scorns. Others suggested that Berry be thrown off Team USA and not allowed to compete in the Olympics over the protest.
“Then don’t compete on behalf of the U.S. in competition. Fairly simple,” conservative radio host Dana Loesch said.
Ricochet editor Bethany Mandel tweeted: “I’d love to see someone from an actually oppressive country try this shit. Hell, I wouldn’t mind if they threw her off Team USA, but they’re gutless and will give her a participation trophy just to assuage their own baggage.
Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe asked, “Why do we have athletes representing America who don’t like America?”