Herschel Walker had a lot to say about Olympians protesting the American flag and kneeling before games.
“People think I’m very harsh when I say this,” Walker told Fox News in an exclusive Friday interview. “This is the United States of America, and if people don’t like the rules here — and there’s no doubt we can make some things better — but if people don’t like the rules here, why are you here?”
He then questioned whether the Olympics is “the right place” for Americans to protest their country considering the presence of athletes from other countries “who would love to represent the United States of America” if given the chance.
Walker participated in the 1992 Olympics and called the experience “one of the proudest moments” of his life, “coming from South Georgia and representing the United States.”
“When I started seeing the United States flag and started seeing the people, the uniform, all my teammates from all different sports coming into that stadium — it almost brought a tear to my eye when I started thinking of where I grew up as a boy in my little hometown, and now having the chance to represent the United States of America,” Walker said. “I couldn’t have been more proud of anything.”
Olympian Gwen Berry is the most notable name who turned away from the American flag during the national anthem at U.S. Olympic trials last month.
“All of my brothers and sisters were White, but I was [more proud] than anything. I would’ve died for that group over in France if I had to,” Walker said of the USA bobsled team. “[They were] my family. … I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I grew up in South Georgia — never, never could have dreamed of anything like that.
Walker believes leaders within the sports industry need to speak up and encourage U.S. athletes to send the right message.
“It’s very sad to me because any other country… I can promise you… they would not be representing that country,” he said. “I totally disagree with it, but they have the right to do it, even though I think it’s wrong. We have to have leaders that… are going to stand up and say the right thing. You can feel a certain way and I think that’s great, but this is the United States Olympics. … I’m not sure that’s the time or place.”