Whereas her determination gained a mixture of help and opposition offline, U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry’s protest of the American flag throughout an Olympic trials ceremony late final month has confirmed unpopular on Fb, the place posts criticizing the hammer thrower dominated the sometimes conservative-leaning web site over the previous week.
Information from CrowdTangle, an analytics instrument owned by Fb, exhibits 4 of the highest 10 hottest link-based posts on the positioning since June 27 had been in regards to the protest, with three from outstanding conservatives explicitly criticizing Berry for what she described as an illustration in opposition to systemic racism.
At over 300,000 reactions, the second hottest put up on this class over the previous week was right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro sharing an article from his information web site, The Each day Wire, about two Republican lawmakers—Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Tex.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ariz.)—calling on the U.S. Olympic group to take away Berry.
The fourth high put up featured an analogous message from evangelical chief Franklin Graham, who persistently ranks amongst Fb’s hottest conservatives.
“In the event you’re competing within the Olympics to characterize the USA and also you disrespect our nation by disrespecting the flag or our nationwide anthem, that ought to mechanically disqualify you from the group,” Graham wrote to greater than 140,000 reactions, 47,000 feedback and 21,000 shares.
One other put up unloading criticism on Berry from Fox Information host and in style podcaster Dan Bongino additionally secured a high 10 spot on Fb this week.
“In the event you hate America, why are you representing us on the Olympics? Go house.” Bongino wrote in a June 20 put up to over 156,000 reactions, 22,900 feedback and 11,500 shares.
After putting third within the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, on June 26, Berry turned away from the American flag because the “Star Spangled Banner” performed throughout the podium ceremony. She additionally draped over her head a black T-shirt emblazoned with the phrases “Activist Athlete.” The Olympian later claimed she was “arrange” on the rostrum as she was advised the nationwide anthem can be taking part in sooner than it did, and has defended her actions, saying she “by no means stated” she “hated the nation.”
“My objective and my mission is larger than sports activities,” Berry stated. “I’m right here to characterize these … who died because of systemic racism. That’s the essential half. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m right here at this time.”
Although it might seem a one-sided situation on Fb, Berry’s protest additionally impressed widespread reward. Different Black monitor and area athletes, together with fellow 2020 Olympians Teahna Daniels and Will Claye, supplied encouragement after the protest. “I hope someday the individuals of this nation perceive that every thing you’re doing is for the LOVE of your individuals, not since you HATE this nation,” wrote Claye, who competes within the lengthy bounce and triple bounce. Former world record-holding sprinter Michael Johnson additionally praised Berry for her “braveness” in “standing up for beliefs” figuring out the backlash she would face. Berry’s protest is the most recent in a protracted historical past of Black athletes utilizing main sporting occasions to attract consideration to problems with racial injustice. These demonstrations, just like the notorious kneeling of former San Francisco 49ers participant Colin Kaepernick throughout the nationwide anthem at first of a 2016 NFL recreation, usually obtain polarizing reactions and have in some cases led to destructive skilled repercussions for the athletes (Kaepernick has remained unsigned by any skilled soccer group because the protest).
The Biden administration defended Berry’s proper to “peacefully protest” amid the backlash. White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated at a press convention this week that President Biden would admit that “a part of the pleasure in our nation means recognizing there are moments the place we, as a rustic, haven’t lived as much as our highest beliefs.”
What To Watch For
Berry has not stated whether or not she plans to protest once more if she makes it to the rostrum on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Video games. “It depends upon how I’m feeling,” Berry advised CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday. “It depends upon what I wish to do in that second, and what I wish to do for my individuals in that second.” Whereas sure racial and social justice demonstrations had been allowed on the trials, the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) has upheld a ban often called Rule 50 that may stop athletes from protesting or demonstrating on the competitors in Japan. It’s unclear what would occur if Berry had been to interrupt the rule because the IOC says in its tips that “disciplinary motion shall be taken on a case-by-case foundation as needed.”
“Gwen Berry Trending Following Olympic Trials Protest” (Forbes)
“Gwen Berry Responds To Backlash Over Flag Protest: ‘I By no means Stated That I Hated The Nation’” (Forbes)
“Rep. Crenshaw Calls For Gwen Berry To Be Eliminated From The Olympic Group After She Turned Away From The Flag” (Forbes)