Fox News contributor George “Tyrus” Murdoch clapped back at athlete Gwen Berry for turning her back on the American flag in protest after she won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a third-place finish in the hammer throw.
Murdoch was responding to actions and statements Berry, who is black, made on Saturday after she managed to win a spot on the Olympic squad in which she accused event organizers of a “set up” to get her to a podium with the first- and second-place contestants while the national anthem was played.
As the music began, Berry turned her back on the American flag and remained in that position throughout the song.
“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” Berry remarked, added that she was told the anthem would be played before the athletes took to their respective podiums. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
(Video: Fox News)
Gold and silver medalists DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen stood and faced the flag with their right hands over their hearts.
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there … But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important,” Berry noted. “The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.
“My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” she added. “I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today.”
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Later, she took to social media to respond to all of the negative comments she received due to her actions.
“These comments really show that: 1.) people in American rally patriotism over basic morality 2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax,” she tweeted.
But in a segment on Fox News’s “The Big Sunday Show,” Murdoch dismissed Berry’s explanations and her actions and responded to co-host Griff Jenkin, who asked if he, as a professional athlete himself, drew a distinction between protest actions on a national or global stage.
“No, I don’t, and quite honestly I don’t care when the national anthem was played. It doesn’t matter, 5:20, 4:15 it doesn’t really matter,” he said.
“I’m going to give you names here. We’ve had some issues in this country especially as a black man when I go to Tommy Smith, John Carlos, Jessie Owens who, they had issues, they fought, they wanted dignity, but they also wanted a seat at the table,” Murdoch explained.
“They wanted to show how much they loved their country, how much they belong, and human rights issues and they fought for it. This isn’t it,” he said of Berry’s protest.
“Even if we are taking a knee on the baseball game, I have no problem with a professional athlete being a citizen, taking a respectful knee during the flag if that’s what you choose to do while still honoring the flag, I have no issue. She turned her back on the flag. She was upset they had the gall to – what song would you think they are going to play at the Olympics?” Murdoch explained.
“This very simply, why are you even competing in the Olympics if you hate the flag and the country so much? If it’s such a horrible place, why are you doing it?” he asked.
He went on to note that he was wearing a shirt bearing the name of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, whose birth name was Cassius Clay before he adopted Islam, adding that Ali refused to be drafted during the Vietnam War in protest. The decision cost him years during his prime as Ali was stripped of his passport and could not get licensed to fight in any state as his appeals worked their way through courts.
“He gave it up because of what he believed in and history looks back at him as a hero but at the time there was consequences for his actions and he took it because he believed in what he stood for,” Murdoch said.
He then offered a suggestion to Berry.
“So, if it’s this bad and you’re this insulted why are you competing? Protest. Sit out,” he said.
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