Some college students are refusing to root for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics because of their negative feelings about America.
Instead they are opting to support individual athletes who are competing in the games.
Conservative news outlet Campus Reform interviewed students at the University of South Florida (USF) ahead of the opening ceremony for the games and discovered that many students would not be supporting their country’s team.
This comes as hammer thrower Gwen Berry made global headlines for turning away from the American flag while the Star-Spangled Banner played at the Olympic track and field trials in Oregon last month.
Conservative news outlet Campus Reform interviewed students at the University of South Florida (interview pictured above) ahead of the opening ceremony for the games and discovered that many students would not be rooting for Team USA
This interview comes as hammer thrower Gwen Berry (left) made global headlines for turning away from the American flag while the Star-Spangled Banner played at the Olympic track and field trials, as pictured above
Citing Berry’s demonstration, among others, reporter Ophelie Jacobson asked USF students if they believed athletes had the right to protest and showcase their political beliefs. Many answered yes.
‘Oh, 100 percent,’ one male student said. ‘Given what’s been going on with this country and how divided our politics have been, there’s not really a reason to stand for one within the country like that anyway, so I agree with it.
‘Personally, I do,’ another man said. ‘People would argue it’s a sign of disrespect to do that, but standing away during the national anthem or turning your back or doing whatever to the flag — that’s a form of protest and that’s their right.’
One student even argued that athletes should be allowed to protest at the Olympic games because countries use the games to their advantage politicly.
‘No matter what [athletes] do, the Olympics anyway is going to be used for politics because even if the US wins or any other country, that country is going to use their win to show that our country’s the best,’ he said, noting that he does not think America is the ‘greatest country’.
Jacobson also asked students if they were embarrassed by Team USA athletes ‘who aren’t even proud to be an American, it seems like’.
‘I don’t think so because I don’t like being an American either, even though I was born here,’ one woman responded. ‘I think there is such corruption and a crumbling infrastructure.’
‘Why is there no free health care? Why are so many people suffering because of housing?… And that is such a great example of how f****** corrupt it is here,’ she continued.
The students interviewed say they support athlete protest which has taken center stage at the Tokyo Olympics. Civilians have also protested the games (Pictured: People holding placards during an anti-Olympics protest in front of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cauldron at Yume no Ohashi)
Several Olympians have made public protest in Tokyo to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement including members of Great Britain’s men’s rugby team (left) and Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado (right)
Some students even argued that while Team USA athletes have a ‘duty to represent their country athletically’ they do not have ‘any obligation to represent it good or bad’.
They said athletes should compete and try to bring home gold medals, but they don’t have to do that for their country – they could be competing for themselves and their teammates.
Many students also stated they will be rooting for athletes, instead of one particular country in this year’s games.
‘I am going to be rooting for athletes individually. I am not rooting for any team just because it’s some country I live in,’ one student explained. ‘Patriotism shouldn’t be that strong.’
‘I don’t root for countries, I root for athletes,’ another stated.
These students’ voices, while not an entire representation of the USF community or America as a whole, echo the ongoing demonstrations taking place at the games.
Athlete protest, which was once forbidden at the Olympics, has taken centerstage in Tokyo.
Players from across the globe have kneeled to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Bloomberg reported.
In addition to Berry turning her back to the flag, women’s soccer players from Great Britain, Chile and Japan were seen taking a knee, as was Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado and members of Great Britain’s men’s rugby team.
Alvarado also put her fist in the air after finishing her floor routine on Sunday.