A number of questionable tweets, some more than ten years old, by Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry, have resurfaced following her snubbing the American national anthem during trials last weekend.
Berry, 32, has made a variety of tasteless jokes and observations including comments about white people, generalizations about the Chinese and ill-judged jokes about rape as well as using the R-word, widely seen as being offensive and disrespectful.
Berry turned her back last weekend when the national anthem was being played after her Olympic qualifier.
Gwen Berry , left, turns her back as the nation anthem is played last weekend on the podium after the Women’s Hammer Throw final on day nine of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon
Offensive and tasteless tweets have resurfaced by Olympian Gwen Berry
The majority of the tweets uncovered are more than ten years old, but Berry was competing for the United States on the national stage
Toward the end of the anthem, Berry picked up a black T-shirt with the words ‘Activist Athlete’ emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.
She has claimed that she was ‘tricked’ into being there at that moment, and was enraged and confused, insisting the anthem did not represent her – but that she still loves the United States.
On Monday, Berry was criticized by conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz who said her protest was disrespectful, and who claimed she hated her country.
Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, said she ought to be removed from the Olympics.
But Berry has received support from many on social media, including Olympic legend Michael Johnson – and she has vowed to compete.
Toward the end of the anthem, Berry plucked up her black T-shirt with the words ‘Activist Athlete’ emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head
Berry lashed out at Fox News and Dan Crenshaw, saying they were ‘obsessed’ with her
Berry responded to people tho told her she should show respect for the National Anthem
‘The point is to compete … which I will be doing,’ she tweeted back at critics.
But those taking a closer look at the Olympian’s Twitter account will find some comments which may sit rather more uncomfortably.
The majority of the tweets came when Berry was in her early 20s – well before she was on the Olympic teams for Rio in 2016 and Team USA for the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival and 2019 Pan American Games, however she was still competing for the U.S. at a national level.
‘This lil white boy being bad as hell!! I would smack his ass then stomp him!! Smh #whitepplKids hella disrespectful,’ Berry wrote in a June 2011 tweet.
‘White people are sooo r******* when they are drunk,’ Berry wrote in a tweet later that same year.
‘’S/O to all the females that’s got get drunk, get recked by 4 dudes, then cry **** this weekend’ she wrote in March 2012.
The tweets include racist comments about white people along with other derogatory thoughts about Chinese people and Mexicans many from 2011 and 2012 when she was in her early 20s
‘I’m about to rape my lunch,’ she wrote in a non-sensical tweet from October that year.
‘#BasketballWives is proof that white ppl run they got damn mouths too much n they nosey as hell n they start drama btw crazy blk b&^%^%’ she tweeted in July 2011.
‘Mexicans just don’t care about ppl’ she wrote in November 2012.
‘Just saw this gurl wearing heels with white socks!! What the Hell..#chineseppl always try to start new trends..smh..ggguuurrrllll,’ she commented in April 2011.
‘This lil white boy being bad as hell!! I would smack his *** then stomp him!! Smh #whitepplKids hella disrespectful,’ she tweeted in Jun 2011.
‘In class..and mugs calling ppl out!!! Hahaha white ppl crazy.’ Berry tweeted in April 2011.
‘These white children freakin themselves right out in this DQ line hahahahahah’, in July 2011.
‘Julie from #BGC gotta nice ass body for a white girl,’ Berry observed in October 2012.
‘I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,’ said Berry (right), who finished third to make her second U.S. Olympic team. ‘I was pissed, to be honest.’
On Tuesday, Berry told the Black News Channel why she protested during last weekend’s trials.
‘I never said that I didn’t want to go to the Olympic Games, that’s why I competed and got third and made the team,’ Berry said.
‘I never said that I hated the country. I never said that. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand for or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people. Point blank, period.’
Berry claimed she specifically has an issue with a line in The Star-Spangled Banner, which she says alludes to catching and beating slaves.
Berry said: ‘If you know your history, you know the full song of the national anthem, the third paragraph speaks to slaves in America, our blood being slain…all over the floor.
Berry raises her fist at the trials last week after USOPC reversed its ban on athlete protests and apologized for sanctioning her for a similar protest in 2019
‘It’s disrespectful and it does not speak for Black Americans. It’s obvious. There’s no question.’
GWEN BERRY LOST SPONSORSHIP AFTER RAISING FIST AT 2019 PAN AM GAMES
Gwen Berry has long used her platform as an athlete to protest racism in America.
The 31-year-old grew up in Ferguson, Missouri, in a household of 13. She was raised largely by her grandmother.
Berry became pregnant at 15 and had her son, Derrick. It was at college, which she attended on a scholarship as a single mom, that she developed her talent for hammer throw.
Berry at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima
Gwen Berry raises her first on the podium at the 2019 Pan Am Lima Games
Before qualifying for the 2016 Olympics, she worked two jobs – one at Dicks Sporting Goods and another delivering Insomnia cookies – to support herself and her family.
Her activism first made headlines in 2019, when she raised her fist at the Pan Am Games in Lima after winning gold.
She was put on probation by the International Olympic Committee for a year and she says she lost $50,000 because of it.
‘It affected my family and how I’m able to take care of them. I lost sponsorships. My career has been assassinated too. Or at least they’re trying to assassinate it,’ she said at the time.
It was around the same Colin Kaepernick’s protests in the NFL were triggering a debate of whether or not athletes should be allowed to use the field or sport they played in to make political or social protests.
Whether or not the line is actually racist remains a point of discussion among historians.
Berry previously protested during competition against racism, most recently raising a fist at the trials on Thursday, and said that she felt insulted by the Star-Spangled Banner playing as she took the podium.
‘They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,’ she said.
‘I was thinking about what I should do.
‘Eventually I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful.
‘It really wasn’t a message. I didn’t really want to be up there.
‘Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade,’ added Berry.
‘They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,’ Berry said.
‘But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important.
‘The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.’
Berry was suspended for 12 months by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) for a raised fist at the 2019 Pan American Games, but did so again before Thursday’s qualifying round as part of her quest for social change.
The USOPC in March reversed its stance and said that athletes competing in the U.S. Olympic trials can protest, including kneeling or raising a clenched fist on the podium or at the start line during the national anthem.
Berry has promised to use her position to keep raising awareness about social injustices in her home country.
‘My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,’ Berry said.
‘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.’
Berry won two gold medals in Pan American competitions and finished third in the NACAC U23 Championships.
She also won indoor track and field national titles in the weight throw in 2013, 2014 and 2016, respectively together with an outdoor track and field national title in the hammer throw in 2017.
So far, USA Track and Field and representatives for Berry have not commented on the tweets.