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Yes, Gwen Berry Should be Removed from the American Olympic Team

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Activist athletes are a dime a dozen nowadays, and very rarely are they not self-absorbed attention hogs acting out in the name of one cause or another that, for some reason, always ends up making them rich.

But it’s one thing to watch Colin Kaepernick kneel during the national anthem amidst a private stadium while playing on a private team. It’s another to have these “look-at-me’s” rep the United States in an official capacity.

Gwen Berry, for instance, should be rejected from any consideration for being a representative of America outright.

As my colleague, Bonchie, wrote on Sunday, the hammer throw bronze winner decided to turn her back to the American flag while the national anthem was playing, didn’t put her heart over her thread, and then put a shirt over her thread that said “activist athlete” toward the end.

As Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw pointed out, she should be rejected from the team for this act as the entire point of sending athletes to the world stage is to represent their nation.

It’s clear that Berry isn’t interested in representing America. She’s clearly not a big fan of it for all the reasons “activist athletes” aren’t, and really, at the end of the day, she’s really only acting for herself.

Even her excuse for turning away from the flag was incredibly self-centered as Bonchie covered:

‘I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,’ said Berry, who finished third to make her second U.S. Olympic team and is an outspoken activist on racial justice issues. ‘I was pissed, to be honest.’ [….]

‘They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,’ she said. ‘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.’

‘It really wasn’t a message. 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,’ added Berry.

‘They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,’ Berry said. ‘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.’

Her quotes read like Veruca Salt turned into an athlete and got political. It was all about her and the disrespectful inconveniences she had to suffer. She was hot and wanted to be cooler. They didn’t play it at the time she would have liked.

But as she said, the anthem doesn’t speak for her. Fine.

But she doesn’t speak for me. She doesn’t speak for the majority of America. Therefore, if she’s not a big fan of the country or the anthem, and if she’s that self-centered, then I think it’s only fair that she be cast off the team and replaced with someone only far more grateful and appreciative of not just the opportunity, but the opportunities afforded to her by the greatest country that has ever existed on this planet.

I don’t want her spoiled attitude representing my country on the world stage. I don’t want her misguided and ultimately selfish “activism” to define my country. If she wants to be an activist and continue to protest and turn her back on American things, then fine, she can do so on her own time and in her own capacity. I don’t think America should be giving her the funds, time, and opportunity to spit on it and the rest of us in a place where the focus is on the friendly competition with other members of the world.

It’s not the time or place of protests, but these activists are so self-absorbed that they can’t get past their own selfish desires.