Congressman and former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) condemned U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry’s behavior on Monday after she turned her back on the American flag during the national anthem while standing on the podium at this weekend’s Olympic Trials. Crenshaw went further and called for Berry to be removed from Team USA.
“We don’t need any more activist athletes. She should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the entire point,” Crenshaw said during an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Monday morning. “It’s one thing when these NBA players do it, okay fine, then we’ll just stop watching. Now the Olympic team, multiple cases of this, they should be removed. That should be the bare minimum requirement: that you believe in the country you’re representing.”
Also on Monday, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki if President Joe Biden thought Berry’s behavior was “appropriate…for someone who hopes to represent Team USA?”
“I know [President 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,” Psaki said.
“He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments when we as a country haven’t lived up to our highest ideals, and it means respecting the right of people, granted to them in the constitution, to peacefully protest.”
After turning her back on the American flag during the Star Spangled Banner, the bronze medalist, who qualified for the Olympic team over the weekend, held up a black shirt that stated, “Activist Athlete.”
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” Berry asserted after the event, according to the New York Post. “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.”
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
“They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,” Berry continued. “I was thinking about what I should do. Eventually I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head.”
USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said Berry’s assertion that the anthem was deliberately played while she received her medal was not true.
“The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today,” said spokeswoman Susan Hazzard. “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.”