Texas lawmakers call for U.S. Olympians to step down over national anthem protests
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Monday called for a U.S. Olympic athlete to be “removed from the team.”
- Crenshaw took issue with hammer thrower Gwen Berry’s protest during the national anthem.
- The Texas Republican regularly mocks cancellation culture in media appearances.
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Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, called for one of America’s top track stars to be “removed from the team” after protesting the national anthem during the upcoming Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
Gwen Berry, a hammer thrower and world record holder, had her back to the flag and a ‘radical athlete’ T-shirt over her face during the national anthem over the weekend .
Crenshaw has often mocked cancellation culture in media appearances on Fox News and podcast channels, calling it a “radical progressive religion.”
However, on Fox News Monday morning, the Texas Republican said Berry should lose her spot for trying to make a political point from the podium.
“We don’t need more aggressive athletes,” Crenshaw said. “You know, she should be removed. The whole point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the point, okay.”
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“So it’s one thing when these NBA players do it — well, well, let’s just stop watching — but what about the Olympic team now?” he continued. “And there are a lot of them. They should be removed. That should be the bare minimum.”
Berry said she didn’t expect to play the national anthem on the winners’ podium at the awards ceremony, as she won a bronze medal for her performance and finished third. “The Stars and Stripes” doesn’t usually play after qualifying in the U.S., as it does for other countries at the Olympics or other international competitions.
“I think it’s set,” she said after the meeting. “I feel like they did it on purpose, and I’m honestly pissed off.”
Crenshaw attributes Berry’s protest to the academic and legal framework of critical race theory, which examines the effects of racism in laws and policies that disproportionately affect people of color, regardless of What is its intention.
Critical race theory has increasingly become an obsession for Republicans in their fundraising and messaging efforts.
“A few more levels down and this is the pathological condition that happens when we teach critical race theory in our institution…it leads to hatred of our own country, and it has to stop,” Crenshaw Say.
U.S. Olympians have long used their popularity to draw attention to political and social causes, most notably 1968 Olympic track stars Tommy Smith and John Carlos paying tribute to “Black Power.”
Later in a news conference after the meeting, Berry said her role as an athlete was second only to fighting racism.
“I don’t need to do anything athletic,” she said. “What I need to do is speak up for my community, represent my community, and help my community. Because that’s more important than sports.”
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