The disrespect that so many Americans have for our flag is appalling and disgusting. It’s refreshing to see that they are starting to see the consequences of their actions!
During the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, olympic fencer Race Imoden and hammer-thrower Gwen Berry were suspended for acts of protest during the national anthem.
Three-time champion and Olympic bronze medalist Imboden decided to take a knee during the national anthem, just after receiving his medal. Berry also participated in a silent protest, in which she raised her fist while standing on the podium as the anthem played.
Both claim that they did so to stand against the “injustices” in America. Now they are suspended for a 12-month probation period.
They both “could face more serious sanctions for any additional breach of our code of conduct,” according to letters sent to both athletes, a spokesperson for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee told NBC News.
Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland also said in the letters that future protests, such as at next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo, would be met with stiffer punishments.
“It is also important for me to point out that, going forward, issuing a reprimand to other athletes in a similar instance is insufficient,” Hirshland wrote. She said that while she applauded the “decision to be an active citizen,” Olympians must “abide by the policies” agreed to “in order to ensure the Games succeed in their purpose for many years to come.”
Olympic committee spokesman Mark Jones said after the protests that athletes at the 2019 Pan American Games had committed to refrain from political demonstrations as part of their terms of eligibility.
Berry spoke out about her protest, stating that she wanted to “stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse.”
“Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about,” she added.
Imboden has also been vocal about his hatred for President Trump, adding that he also protests because of “racism, gun control, the mistreatment of immigrants” on Twitter.
We must call for change.
This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, pic.twitter.com/deCOKaHQI9
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 10, 2019
“I spoke up, I hope, for the same reasons that athletes who’ve come before me did. I want my country to change,” Imboden said, “And I want people who look like me to start coming to terms with this reality: Even if we can’t fully identify with the challenges that minorities sometimes face, or haven’t experienced the kind of attacks that they’ve faced, we owe it to our country to use the privilege we have to fight for what is right.”
As people who are literally representing the United States, it makes me sick to know they act like this while there are troops dying in battle to preserve the freedom they so freely disrespect.