U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry is hitting back hard at critics of her national anthem protest, which she staged on the podium after her third-place finish in the hammer throw at the Olympic trials over the weekend.
What are the details?
As TheBlaze reported, Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas said Monday that Berry should be kicked off the Olympic team after she turned her back to the flag and placed over her head a T-shirt adorned with the phrase "Activist Athlete" while the anthem played.
Berry soon shot back at the GOP congressman by retweeting a message that read, "Dan can kiss my ass."
But that was far from her only salvo. While Berry censored the following tweet to Fox News, there was no mistaking her reaction to the headline about her from the cable news giant:
"F*** you Fox News," she tweeted.
Berry added another Twitter post saying negative comments about her show that "people in American [sic] rally patriotism over basic morality" and that "phony sentiments regarding black lives" after the death of George Floyd "were just a hoax."
But in response to a supportive Twitter user, Berry
expressed gratitude and added that she "never said" she "hated" America:
Thank you! I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I spea… https://t.co/7kct2syUUW— Gwen Berry OLY (@Gwen Berry OLY)1624857742.0
The White House defends Berry
As you no doubt expected, there was no criticism from the White House over Berry's protest. After a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki about President Joe Biden's thoughts concerning Berry, Psaki replied that she had not spoken to Biden about it but knew he would be supportive of her right to "peacefully protest":
I know [Biden is] incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world. He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we ... as a country haven't lived up to our highest ideals. And it means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry “peaceful protest” who turned away… https://t.co/1FaJSO3mDC— Mona Salama (@Mona Salama)1624909670.0
Berry alleged that the national anthem was played to single her out, ESPN reported.
"I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,'' Berry told the sports network. "I was pissed, to be honest."
Berry found it to be no matter of coincidence that she was front and center during the anthem. Unlike the Olympics, anthems aren't played to accompany medal ceremonies at the trials. But the hammer throwers received their awards just before the start of the evening session, which has been kicking off all week with a videotaped rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner.''
"They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,'' Berry noted to the sports network. "But I don't really want to talk about the anthem because that's not important. The anthem doesn't speak for me. It never has."
A USA Track and Field spokesperson said the anthem was played according to a previously published schedule.
Berry has been penalized on previous occasions for podium demonstrations and added to ESPN that she's going to her second Olympics to bring more awareness to systemic racism: "My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports. 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."