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Fearless: Olympian Gwen Berry the latest athlete to promote herself with George Floyd Ice Anthem Challenge

Op-ed
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Before Gwen Berry's national anthem tantrum at the Olympic trials on Saturday, could anyone in America name a hammer thrower, male or female?

I can't. The best ones hail from Eastern Europe and have names I can't pronounce.

Gwen Berry is the first famous American hammer thrower. She finished third at Saturday's Olympic trials. No one knows who finished first and second, because no one really cares and because Berry's national anthem gimmick overshadowed the women who were better than her.

The national anthem played while Berry stood on the podium collecting her third-place medal and spot on the Olympic team. At the U.S. Olympic trials, the anthem plays once a day, usually early in the evening when fans are arriving for the featured events.

Berry thought Saturday's timing was intended to troll her.

"I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose," Berry said. "I was pissed, to be honest."

But she wasn't so pissed that she missed her opportunity to draw attention to herself. Berry stood with a hand on her hip, then turned her back to the flag and eventually pulled her shirt over her head. She ordered a full helping of attention, the drug social activist athletes can't seem to live without.

"It was real disrespectful," Berry said. "I didn't really want to be up there. Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot."

I wonder what her reaction would've been had they played a rap song filled with the words bitch, ho, and n---a? Would she twerk? Would she feel disrespected?

National anthem protests are publicity stunts, and not for the memory of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, or any other victims of alleged "systemic racism," aka systemic resisting arrest.

"My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports," Berry explained. "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."

Berry's purpose is to drum up attention for Gwen Berry and make herself worthy of an endorsement deal from Nike or some other woke global corporation. It's a money grab she's dressed up as activism.

She's learned from some of the best in the business. Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Malcolm Jenkins, LeBron James, the nameless, faceless players of the WNBA.

The George Floyd Ice Anthem Challenge is particularly popular with female athletes dissatisfied with the attention they receive. Athletes love attention, recognition, and adulation. Female jocks get less of those things than their male counterparts. The George Floyd Ice Anthem Challenge has helped level the attention playing field.

Gwen Berry finished in third place in an event no one cares about. She's the most discussed athlete from the Olympic track and field trials. Who won the men's or women's 100-meter dash? The decathlon? The 400-meter dash? The mile?

The bronze medalist who decorates her lips like Dennis Rodman is the biggest name coming out of the trials. She's building a brand and promoting discussion of Gwen Berry.

Given a choice between infamy and anonymity, the modern athlete will choose infamy.

Berry isn't remotely courageous. She's not John Carlos or Tommie Smith, the 1968 Olympians who raised fists at the Games. Carlos and Smith took bold stances when others wouldn't dare. Literally thousands of athletes — from Pee Wee to the pros — have already done the George Floyd Ice Anthem Challenge. It's a fad as popular as skinny jeans.

The black athletes who support the national anthem and express gratitude for being born here demonstrate courage and common sense.

Berry is attention-starved. The easiest path to attention for the modern athlete is pretending your life is dedicated to solving systemic resisting arrests.
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