US Olympian Gwen Berry Receives Huge Backlash After Protesting National Anthem

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U.S track and field Olympian Gwen Berry has been slammed after she protested the national anthem.

Berry appeared at the Olympic trials on Saturday where she finished third, meaning she has a guaranteed place at the Olympics.

The national anthem started playing as Berry was on the podium but rather facing the flag, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and turned to face the stands.

Towards the end of the anthem, she picked up her black T-shirt that read “Activist Athlete” and draped it over her head.

The move has been heavily criticized online.

California Republican operative, Kathy Tavoularis tweeted: “Let’s turn our backs on HER “#Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry turns back on U.S flag during the anthem.”

Republican congressional candidate in Florida, Vic DeGrammont wrote: “If you can’t respect the flag or anthem then you shouldn’t be allowed to complete.”

Another Twitter user also asked, “Very hypocritical of these athletes to use the flag as a way to gain sponsorships, fame, & monetary value, yet when it’s time to represent the flag they turn their back to it. Why compete for a country u dont believe in? That’s why people who do this will never be taken seriously.”

While others tweeted, “I told you there would be more garbage behavior like this. #GwenBerry needs to learn that it’s not about the anthem “speaking for her, ” it’s about a moment of gratitude for this country that makes her Olympic dream possible. Shameful self-absorption.”

Berry claimed the timing of the anthem was a “setup.”

“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said about the timing of the anthem, “I was p***ed, to be honest. They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there.”

“I was thinking about what I should do. Eventually, I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful. I didn’t really want to be up there. Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade.”

However, as per the Guardian, USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said that “the national anthem was scheduled to play at 5.20 pm. 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.”