Gwen Berry is coy about whether she’ll protest anthem, flag at Tokyo Olympics

The decision "depends on what I want to do in that moment," U.S. track and fielder Gwen Berry told CNN, "and what I want to do for my people in that moment."

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U.S. track and fielder Gwen Berry demurred when asked by CNN’s Don Lemon if she plans to protest America’s national anthem at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We’ll see. You know, it just depends. It depends,” Berry said Thursday on Don Lemon Tonight. “You know everything is a spur of the moment. It depends on how I’m feeling and depends on what I want to do in that moment and what I want to do for my people in that moment. And I will do whatever comes upon me and whatever is in my heart.”

Gwendolyn Berry is shown after she finishes third in the Women’s Hammer Throw final on Day Nine of the recent 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Gwen Berry, who specializes in the hammer throw, protested the anthem last Saturday as she accepted bronze at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. During the event, held in Eugene, Oregon, Berry turned her back to the flag and draped a T-shirt over her head that read, “Activist Athlete.”

She also addressed statements from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who was asked by Fox News if President Joe Biden thinks Berry’s actions were “appropriate behavior” for someone who hopes to represent Team USA. Peter Doocy played a clip of Berry’s protest, which Psaki said she had not specifically discussed with the president.

Psaki made clear, however, “I know he is 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. 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 right of people granted to them in the Constitution to peacefully protest.”

“I think that was spot on,” Berry said in response to Psaki’s sentiments. “They said it, I respect it,” adding during the on-air discussion, “Let’s be clear: I do respect the Constitution because obviously, I was exercising my constitutional right.”

Gwen Berry had previously criticized “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which makes references to enslaved people yet is held up as an example of freedom.

Asked for specifics about her issue with the anthem, she replied, “It’s not that it’s hard. It’s the first — it’s the first verse. It’s the third verse. It’s all of these words. Freedom, justice. It mentions slaves. These are things that do not hold true for all Americans. And that’s just it. It’s not true for all Americans.”

Berry said she will not change her position on the anthem and the flag “until America takes full accountability for the things that Blacks have to face here in America … because we are capable of doing it.”

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