They Protested as Anthem Played, Now Learn Punishment

It will be worse next time, Race Imboden and Gwen Berry are told
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2019 2:44 PM CDT
US Athletes Punished for Protest at Pan Am Games
Race Imboden takes a knee of the United States takes a knee at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.   (Jose Sotomayor/Lima 2019 News Services via AP)

The American athletes who protested as the national anthem was played when they received gold medals at the Pan Am Games have been punished. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee has placed Race Imboden, a fencer, and Gwen Berry, who competes in the hammer throw, on 12 months' probation, NBC News reports. Imboden took a knee and Berry raised her fist during the ceremonies earlier this month in Lima, Peru. Letters sent to the two athletes informing them of their probation also contained a warning: The punishment will be more severe if they do it again—and other athletes who attempt anything similar will also see harsher consequences. Pan Am Game athletes had agreed to not make political gestures, the committee said.

Sarah Hirshland, the committee's CEO, said that she appreciated the athletes' "decision to be an active citizen," per the Hill, just not "the moment and manner" in which they did it. Imboden said he was protesting "racism, gun control, the mistreatment of immigrants," and President Trump; Berry said she was taking a "stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who's making it worse." Imboden and Berry remain eligible for the Tokyo Olympics next year, when, the AP points out, the presidential campaign will be in full swing back in the States. (Read more national anthem stories.)

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