Sen. Tom Cotton joined fellow lawmakers in calling for anthem-protesting Olympic athlete Gwen Berry to be removed from the U.S. team.
“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 told Fox News on Monday.
“If Miss Berry is so embarrassed by America, then there is no reason she needs to compete for our country. She should be removed from the Olympic team.”
Berry placed third in the hammer throw Saturday during the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, and was receiving her bronze medal when the anthem began playing.
While first- and second-place finishers DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen looked at the flag with their hands on their hearts, Berry turned away and eventually covered her head with a black T-shirt reading “Activist Athlete.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw also called for her removal from the U.S. Olympic team.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” the Texas Republican told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” Monday.
“She should be removed from the team,” Crenshaw said. “The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It’s the entire point.”
Berry responded to the congressman’s interview on Monday by tweeting, “At this point, y’all are obsessed with me.”
At this point, y’all are obsessed with me https://t.co/HBWCE28s7x
— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) June 28, 2021
“I feel like it was set up,” Berry said of the anthem moment Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
“I feel like they did that on purpose, and I was pissed, to be honest,” she said. “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.”
Berry said she knew what was coming before her podium performance.
“It was funny because they said they were going to play it before we walked out,” Berry told The Post. “It just happened they played it when we were out there. So, you know, it’s OK.
“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.”
USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said the timing was a coincidence.
“The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today. We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
The anthem played at 5:25 p.m.
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