White House Defends Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry who turned back on flag as national anthem was playing

The New York Post:

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday defended the “peaceful protest” of Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who on Saturday turned away from the US flag while the national anthem played and covered her head with her T-shirt that read, “Activist Athlete.”

Asked by a reporters what President Biden thought of the move by Berry, which critics have slammed as unpatriotic and unbecoming of a Team USA member that will represent the United States in Tokyo, Psaki seemed to say he would be understanding.

“I haven’t spoken to the president specifically about this, but I know he’s 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 at her daily press briefing.

THE STORY:

A US hammer thrower turned away from the American flag as the national anthem played while she and two other athletes stood on the podium at the Olympic trials Saturday, later saying she was “pissed” that “The Star-Spangled Banner” played as she received her bronze medal.

Gwen Berry — who qualified for her second US Olympic team during the trials — shifted to face the stands rather than the flag before holding up a black shirt that read, “Activist Athlete.”

“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the anthem being played. “I was pissed, to be honest.

“They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,” Berry said in Oregon, where the trials are being held. “I was thinking about what I should do. Eventually I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head.

Despite her own questionable antics while her nation’s anthem played, Berry called out the Olympic trial organizers as being inappropriate — to her. “It was real disrespectful,” she said.

‘”I didn’t really want to be up there,” she said. “Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade.”

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