Olympian Gwen Berry accused of hypocrisy as pic of her posing with US flag goes viral after National Anthem protest furyJuly 2, 2021
OLYMPIAN Gwen Berry has been accused of hypocrisy as a photo of her posing with the US flag went viral after she sparked fury by protesting the National Anthem.
The photo of the Olympic hammer thrower smiling while wearing a USA shirt with an American flag draped across her shoulders appears to have come from her old website.
It's unclear when exactly the photo was taken, but it was featured in a blog post dated June 12, 2015 after Berry had come in first in a throw event at the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival in Mexico City.
The webpage was set up to showcase Berry's accomplishments before she made the 2016 US Olympic team.
The athlete has been widely slammed online since she turned her back while the National Anthem was playing as she stood on a podium during a trial event last week.
Now that the flag photo has resurfaced, critics are slamming Berry as an opportunist who turned her back on the flag just for attention.
"Gwen Berry's PR team forgot to update her website," writer and comedian Tim Young tweeted.
"Looks like the American flag didn't offend Gwen Berry a few years ago," conservative author Nick Adams wrote.
Even former president Donald Trump's son chimed in.
"Totally not all an act! She was definitely not protesting to get attention for herself and/or maybe some of those woke Nike sponsorship dollars," Donald Trump, Jr tweeted.
"100% legit and not at all a cottage industry victimization scheme we see so much of these days."
After turning her back on the flag, Berry said that she felt like the National Anthem playing while she happened to be on a podium was a "set up."
The music had been played once per evening at US Olympic track and field trials – but on the day in question, it started while Berry was standing on the podium after receiving a bronze medal in the hammer throw.
Disgruntled Berry placed her left hand on her hip and fidgeted before turning to face the stands instead of the US flag, while two fellow contestants placed their hands on their hearts.
As the song came to a close, Berry pulled up her black T-shirt with the words "Activist Athlete" emblazoned on the front to cover her head.
"I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,'' Berry said of the timing of the anthem.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee previously stated that athletes competing in trials can protest, including kneeling or raising a clenched fist on the podium or at the start line during the national anthem.
Berry commended this decision, writing on social media: "We did it… we are making history.
"Shoutout to all those involved in the amazing movement!!"
The activist says that her mission is "bigger than the sport" and she wants to represent "her communities and people."
"I'm here to represent those who died due to systemic racism," she said.
When asked about how Joe Biden feels about an American athlete protesting the anthem, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president "respects" her "right" to turn away.
"[Biden’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.
"He’d also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals.
"It means respecting the right of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest."
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