Rep. Dan Crenshaw calls for Olympic athlete Gwen Berry to be ‘removed from the team’ for national anthem protest

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., appears on Fox News to call for US Olympian Gwen Berry to be "removed from the team" after she protested with a T-shirt during the national anthem.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex.

  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Monday called for a US Olympic athlete to be “removed from the team.”
  • Crenshaw took issue with hammer thrower Gwen Berry’s protest during the national anthem.
  • The Texas Republican has frequently derided cancel culture in media appearances.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas called for one of the top American track and field stars to be “removed from the team” after she protested the national anthem during qualifiers for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Gwen Berry, a hammer thrower and world record holder, turned her back to the flag during the national anthem over the weekend and held an “activist athlete” t-shirt over her face.

Crenshaw has frequently derided cancel culture in media appearances on Fox News and the podcast circuit, calling it a “radical progressive religion.”

However, in a Fox News appearance on Monday morning, the Texas Republican said Berry should lose her spot for trying to make a political point on the podium.

“We don’t need any more activist athletes,” Crenshaw said. “You know, she should be removed from the team. The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. That’s the entire point, OK.”

“So it’s one thing when these NBA players do it – OK, fine, we’ll just stop watching – but now the Olympic team?” he continued. “And it’s multiple cases of this. They should be removed. That should be the bare minimum requirement.”

Berry said she was not expecting the anthem to be played during the ceremony at the winner’s podium, where she held the third spot with a bronze medal for her performance. “The Star Spangled Banner” isn’t usually played after American qualifying meets like it would be with other nations present at the Olympics or other international competitions.

“I feel like it was set up,” she said after the meet. “I feel like they did that on purpose, and I was pissed, to be honest.”

Crenshaw attributed Berry’s protest to the academic and legal framework of critical race theory, which examines the effect of racism in laws and policies that have a disproportionate impact on people of color, regardless of intent.

Critical race theory has increasingly become an obsession for Republicans in fundraising and messaging efforts.

“Taking it a couple levels deeper, this is the pathology that occurs when we’re teaching critical race theory in our institutions … It results in these displays of hatred towards our own country, and it’s gotta stop,” Crenshaw said.

American Olympians have long used their visibility to draw attention to political and social causes, most notably with the 1968 Olympics “Black power” salute from track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

Later in a press conference following the meet, Berry said her role as an athlete is secondary to fighting racism.

“I don’t need to do anything sport-wise,” she said. “What I need to do is speak for my community, to represent my community, and to help my community. Because that’s more important than sports.”

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