Dan Crenshaw Says Gwen Berry Should Be Removed from Olympic Team for Turning Away from Flag

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Tex.) speaks during a hearing with FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor and the House Committee on Homeland Security meeting on the national response to the coronavirus pandemic, July 22, 2020. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool via Reuters)

Representative Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) is calling for Gwen Berry, a hammer thrower, to be removed from the Olympic team after she turned her back on the American flag and covered her face with a shirt that said “Activist Athlete” during the national anthem on Saturday.

“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said during an appearance on Fox & Friends. “She should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It’s the entire point.”

He added: “It’s one thing when these NBA players do it — OK, fine, we’ll 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 are representing, he said. 

Berry, who earned her place on the U.S. Olympic team after finishing in third place during the U.S. Olympic track and field trials on Saturday, responded to a clip of Crenshaw’s comments on Twitter, writing, “At this point, y’all are obsessed with me.”

On Saturday, Berry said she was “pissed” with the timing of the national anthem, claiming she was told the anthem would be played before she stepped onto the podium instead of while the athletes stood upon it.

“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said. “I was pissed, to be honest.”

“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there … But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important,” she said. “The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.”

“My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” she continued. “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.”

However, USA Track and Field spokesperson Susan Hazzard said Berry’s claim that it was a set-up was not accurate, according to Fox News.

Hazzard said that “the national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. 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.”

On Sunday, Berry wrote in a tweet that the backlash she received after turning her back on the flag shows that “people in American [sic] rally patriotism over basic morality” and that “even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax.”

“I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE,” she added.

Berry, who won gold medals at the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival and the 2019 Pan American Games, was sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee after raising a fist in protest at the end of the playing of the national anthem in 2019.

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