By SUZANNE DOWNING
Gwen Berry, a talented hammer thrower, stood on the medals stand and showed the world just how flawed our nation is. And she showed how bratty, petulant, and intolerant some of our citizens have become.
She turned away from our national anthem with a glower, put a protest shirt over her head, and scowled like the most miserable human ever; it was as if she had been beaten and dragged to the medals ceremony against her will.
You could not have scripted the storyline any better: America is full of spoiled, problem children. It’s a nation of lousy parents.
The band played on, and the “flag was still there,” with the Gold and Silver medalists standing tall, proud of their accomplishments, respectful of being able to represent the United States at the Olympic Games. Can you name them? No, most only know of Gwen Berry, not DeAnna Price or Brooke Andersen.
Berry, symbolic of our current national strife, stole the attention from Price and Anderson with her performative hatred. She blew the assignment, which was to compete, then stand in respect, just as one would do for the Pledge of Allegiance or for a prayer. She was not there to represent Antifa; she was there to represent the highest achievements of the United States.
There are a lot of Gwen Berrys making spectacles of themselves in the news these days. They burn down police stations, set cars on fire, deface monuments, terrorize people in their homes, and fray the fabric of civil society, egged on by the likes of Rep. Maxine Waters and even Vice President Kamala Harris.
It is almost as if our nation, over the past four years, has been so successful and her people so fortunate that some beneficiaries of our hard work, sacrifice, and tolerance had to manufacture problems to develop a sense of purpose. Peace and prosperity were not enough for them.
All the achievements of bringing minorities along in the American Dream over the past 50 years have been picked apart and declared inadequate by this set of society.
Now that their hatred for America has bled into our top athletic team, Americans have to ask, when is it too much?
If Berry will behave badly while at the U.S. Track and Field finals, how can the U.S. Olympic Team count on her to behave on the international stage?
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee has already decided that athletes who peacefully protest or demonstrate at the Tokyo Olympics will not be punished. And so we can expect more of this from Berry or those who will emulate her.
“I never said that I hated the country. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people point blank, period,” Berry said.
Is Gwen Berry, displaying racism by declaring that there is a separate people she represents, fit to represent all of us in the United States at the Olympics?
No. Berry had a choice. She could have stood with her head simply bowed, and allowed her teammates to enjoy their moment of victory.
But she didn’t; she went full drama queen, disrespecting her teammates and, in many ways, robbing them of a time that should have been focused on their accomplishments.
Berry also set the poorest of examples for America’s youth. Like it or not, she is a role model, as all Olympic athletes have been.
What would it take for the Committee to disqualify her? Let’s say she spit, threw her bouquet of flowers, stuck her tongue out, or stomped her feet. All of those things would have caused the Olympic Committee to just say “No.” What she did is no different.
Berry stepped onto the podium so her country could glorify her achievements and look past her human faults. She just was not willing to return the respect. She deserves a gold, but not for her athletic performance.
The lesson for athletes? Behavior and decorum matter. It’s time we draw the line on respect; Berry clearly crossed the line.
The saying in sports is, “Go big or go home.” Gwen Berry went big with her bad behavior. Now she needs to stay home.
Suzanne Downing is publisher of Must Read Alaska and writes for Must Read America and NewsMax. This column was written for NewsMax.