The medals were handed out on Saturday for the women's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. DeAnna Price won the event and the gold medal, Brooke Anderson won the silver, and Gwen Berry took third place.
After the medals were awarded, the organizers of the trials played the national anthem – which they had been doing once a day, at roughly the same time each day. Berry grimaced, put her hand on her hip, turned her back to the flag, and stared at the ground while she slumped.
When asked about the incident, Berry – who describes herself as an "activist athlete" – said: "I feel like it was a setup and they did it on purpose." She contends the third stanza of the anthem is racist – and claims she was there for all the people who died from "systemic racism" in America.
Conservative columnist Robert Knight says Berry is playing the victim.
"Gwen Berry is buying into critical race theory," Knight tells One News Now. "It's a Marxist philosophy that says America was begun only to facilitate slavery, has always been racist, the white people are intrinsically racist, [and] the black people are all victims," he describes.
And what about the third stanza?
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave, …
Berry insists that verse is about slaves' blood being trampled. It isn't, says Knight. "She's totally miscasting the stanza to be racist. Of course, that's what the new racists do. They see race in everything," he laments.
In fact, the late author Isaac Asimov wrote in 1991 that the third stanza celebrates America's triumph over the British and their failed bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814 and subsequent retreat by sea.
In a column published yesterday, Ben Shapiro argues Gwen Berry's actions were a deliberate attempt by the "heretofore nearly anonymous hammer thrower" to raise her own profile.
"Actually, Berry just saw an opportunity to maximize her profile, and she seized it with alacrity," Shapiro writes. "In the United States, there's far more money to be made and fame to be achieved by spurning the American flag and the national anthem than by embracing it."