A member of the U.S. fencing team knelt on the podium during the national anthem and medal ceremony Friday at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, saying on Twitter: “We must call for change.”
Race Imboden, an Olympic medalist and part of the men’s foil team that won gold at the Pan American Games, wrote that he was honored to represent Team USA at the event, but his pride was “cut short” by “shortcomings” of his country.
“Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “I chose to [sacrifice] my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.”
We must call for change.
This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, pic.twitter.com/deCOKaHQI9
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 10, 2019
At the Pan American Games, Imboden, 26, shared bronze in men’s foil with Canadian Maximilien van Haaster.
He was part of the American team that won gold in team foil with Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin.
His two teammates stood as the national anthem played.
“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC,” Mark Jones, vice president of communications for the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, said in a statement Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The statement continued: “We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”
Another American athlete, hammer thrower Gwen Berry, raised her fist during the national anthem Saturday, according to reports.
NBC Sports reported that the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee issued the same statement after Berry demonstrated.
“Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse,” Berry told USA Today.
The demonstrations happened amid a larger national discussion on issues that include gun control, which came in the wake of recent shooting rampages in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.
Amid that discussion, some have noted President Trump’s tweets and remarks about immigrants.
The suspect in the El Paso shooting, which left 22 people dead, told authorities that he was targeting “Mexicans,” according to police.
This month, Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya grabbed a field-level microphone and implored Congress to address gun violence.
San Antonio Spurs and Team USA men’s basketball Coach Gregg Popovich has also spoken out.
“It’d be a lot better if people in power got off their a—- and got something done,” he told reporters.
Attribution:The Washington Post