White House press secretary Jen Psaki has defended the "peaceful protest" of Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry on Monday, who on Saturday turned away from the U.S flag while the national anthem played and covered her head with her T-shirt that read, "Activist Athlete."
When asked by reporters what President Biden thought of the stunt Berry pulled, which critics have slammed as "unpatriotic" and "unbecoming" of a Team USA member that is supposed to represent the United States in Tokyo, Jen Psaki was quite understanding of the matter.
"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.
Psaki added: "He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are — as a country, haven't lived up to our highest ideals. And it means respecting the rights of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest."
"It was real disrespectful," Berry said on social media after the anthem played.
"They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there," the athlete 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."
"My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports," she added, "I'm here to represent those... who died due to systemic racism. That's the important part. That's why I'm going. That's why I'm here today."
"I didn't really want to be up there... it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade."
The National Anthem was written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 while aboard a British ship during the 1814 attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. It then became the National Anthem in 1931.
But when Berry refused to sing along to the patriotic song, she received a lot of criticism. Some people even said that she shouldn't compete for a country she doesn't like!
But others were in love with the athlete's courage to stand up to what she believes...
Regardless if you agree with @MzBerryThrows or not 1) You can't deny her courage standing up for her beliefs knowing the backlash. 2) USA identities as an example of freedom which includes the freedom to stand, kneel, or peacefully demonstrate when the anthem plays. https://t.co/3d14ftEPAZ
— Michael Johnson (@MJGold) June 28, 2021
"Regardless if you agree with @MzBerryThrows or not 1)You can't deny her courage standing up for her beliefs knowing the backlash. 2) the USA identifies as an example of freedom which includes the freedom to stand, kneel, or peacefully demonstrate when the anthem plays." Michael Johnson said.
How do you know she “despises the United States?" Seriously. Has she ever said that? Did she tell you that? @MzBerryThrows believes systemic racism is still a big problem in this country. She wants America to be better. That doesn't sound like someone who “despises" America. https://t.co/8XOBG5Gw7x
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 28, 2021
People even stood up against criticism. Joe Walsh questioned Matt Walsh saying "How do you know she 'despises the United States?' Seriously."
So while some disagree with her stunt on Saturday, others supported her curagious personality...
What do you think?