Gwen Berry feels organizers of the U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials in Oregon purposefully played the national anthem while the activist stood on the podium for winning the bronze medal in the hammer throw on Saturday.
Berry was spotted turning away from the flag while silver- and gold-medalist winners Brooke Andersen and DeAnna Price, respectively, stood forward and faced the flag. Berry would then drape a black T-shirt with the words, “Activist Athlete” over her head before raising it up overhead.
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the anthem. “I was pissed, to be honest.
USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard told ESPN that “the national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today. We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.”
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” Berry 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. 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.”