Pundits go to bat for Gwen Berry over American flag controversy, suggest criticism is hypocritical, racist

Media top headlines June 29

An Intercept reporter suggesting DeSantis is to blame for the condo collapse, an MSNBC anchor trashing Bill Maher as an "angry White man," and a CNN anchor cozying up to Ron Klain round out today’s top media headlines.

U.S. Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry was ripped for turning her back on the American flag as she accepted her bronze medal during the U.S. Olympic track and field trials on Saturday, but some media members rushed to her defense and called her a “patriot” for her demonstration.

Berry, who was previously sanctioned for raising a fist during the anthem at the 2019 Pan American Games, told the press she felt as though Saturday’s anthem was a “set up” and she was “pissed” about it.

“Eventually, I just stayed there and just swayed,” she said. “I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful. I know they did that on purpose, but it’ll be alright. I see what’s up.”

Yet her critics, most notably Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, argued her display should be grounds for kicking her off of the Tokyo Olympics squad.

Sports and culture writer Kavitha Davidson disagreed on MSNBC Tuesday, arguing that it’s “a little bit rich” for conservatives like Crenshaw to call for Berry’s removal because they have so long railed against what they term “cancel culture.” She suggested critics stop questioning Berry’s patriotism because she’s “exercising her right to protest.”

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins used the same argument in her defense of Berry, saying Crenshaw is the one who is “un-American.”

“Gwen Berry brings out the cancel culture hypocrites,” agreed The Week’s Joel Mathis.

Other analysts suggested that criticism of Berry was racist, such as Boston Globe columnist Jenee Osterheldt, who published a piece entitled, “Gwen Berry, and the hammers thrown at Black womanhood.” Osterheldt referenced several other controversies surrounding talented female athletes of color such as gymnast Simone Biles and tennis stars Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, to argue they are constantly having to live up to pressure not placed on White athletes.

“You can be the brightest, the fastest, the strongest, the best,” Osterheldt wrote. “And America will root you on and be your fan until you show your humanity. Our greatness is best celebrated when it serves others. Standing up for civil rights, for yourself? This is a kind of defiance Black folk dare not do without permission, without white folk on your side.”

Like Davidson, Osterheldt described Berry’s demonstration as one borne out of patriotism because it showed she was “loving America so much she wants justice for all of its people.”

“To just be Black and woman and live on your own terms is to pay prices no one can afford. The Black Girl Penalty,” the author argued. 

Taking a different route in his defense of Berry, Deadspin’s Carron J. Phillips left little to his readers’ imagination with the headline, “If you’re mad at Gwen Berry but not the terrorists who stormed the Capitol, you’re part of the problem.” He too called Berry “a patriot” and charged that the people who are “pissed” at Berry are “the racist white kind.”

It’s yet another controversy seeing the left and right head to their respective corners. “The View” co-host Meghan McCain lit into Berry on Tuesday for putting herself over the country.

“I will die on this hill that it is not appropriate or patriotic to go to a foreign country where you’re supposed to be representing America, and act like it’s just about you,” McCain said on Tuesday. “It’s not about you, it’s about all of us.”

Source: Read Full Article