Gwen Berry, the U.S. Olympic hammer thrower who sparked outrage by turning away from the American flag during the national anthem, is sponsored by Color of Change, a left-wing group that advocates for defunding the police.
Color of Change, which has sponsored Berry since last September and is funding her through the end of the year, applauded her “leadership” on Tuesday amid the ongoing backlash.
“We’re proud to sponsor [Berry], to have negotiated a sponsorship with @PUMA and to continue to push corporations to support Black athletes who speak out for our communities. Grateful for Gwen’s leadership today and every day,” the activist group wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you Color of Change for always standing with me,” Berry replied.
Color of Change is unapologetically in favor of defunding the police.
“Policing is a violent institution that must end. We imagine a country where there is enough money to educate our children, care for our sick and feed those who are financially unstable. Defunding the police allows for this vision,” Color of Change President Rashad Robinson said in June after the Minneapolis City Council pledged to “dismantle” its police force.
Color of Change didn’t return a request for comment on whether Berry supports her sponsor’s advocacy of defunding the police.
Berry claimed she was “set-up” after the national anthem began playing during her medal ceremony in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials on Saturday at which time she turned her back to the flag before eventually covering her face with a shirt.
“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the timing of the anthem. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
Gold and silver medalists DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen faced the flag with their right hands over their heart while Berry faced away and toward the stands. She eventually picked up a black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” printed on the front and draped it over her head.
But a spokesperson for USA Track and Field disputed Berry’s claim that it was a set up.
“The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today. We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.”
On Saturday, the music started at 5:25.
Berry was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee after raising her fist during the national anthem at the 2019 Pan-Am Games.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and the Associated Press contributed reporting
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