Olympian Says Podium Shouldn’t Be For Protests

An old Bedouin proverb says me against my brother; my brother and me against our cousins; my brother, my cousins, and me against our neighbors.  The point is to join together at ever greater levels, which eventually would mean my countrymen and me against other nations. 

Olympian and gold medalist Monica Abbott takes that sentiment to heart.

Two of her Pan Am Game teammates see it otherwise.

Gold medal-winning fencer Race Imboden took a knee during his awards presentation on Friday to protest over social issues at home in the U.S., and encouraged other athletes to do the same

Hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist as the U.S. national anthem played following her gold medal effort.

During the Games closing news conference on Sunday, Abbott said:

“One thing that makes the U.S. great is that we have this ability to have freedom in a lot of different things, it is a founding principle in our country — freedom of speech, freedom of religion.  But as an athlete it is our opportunity to put differences aside whether they’re political, they’re athletic, to whether it is the way we look to put those aside to celebrate something that can bring the world together.  That is what sport is about. That is what I think the Olympic and Pan American vision is about, bringing people together.”

Before competing internationally athletes sign agreements that forbid such protests.

Regarding Imboden’s protest, USOPC spokesman Mark Jones said in a statement:

“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. We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment.

As with most other protests by athletes, chances are this will come to exactly nothing.

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Comments (14)

  1. james

    Monica Abbott is a real credit to her country it touches ones heart strings when one can speak so emphatically about her countries sentiments & principals.Hopefully all the worlds sportsmen/women can endear themselves likewise.God Bless America & its peoples.

  2. Tumbleweed

    These people that renege on agreements and protest against their country in violation of their agreements have no class, no honor and no right representing their country at these venues. They should not be able to compete under their country’s name in future events and should only be able to compete as their own person without a country.

    • David

      If you protest against the U.S. or any other Country while wearing the uniform of said Country, you should not be allowed to compete for that Country. All you are doing is showing how classless you truly are. Protest on your own time not the time when you are representing your Country. You and only you are giving you and your Country a bad name. I will no longer support our Olympians if they are going to protest at every event.
      You are receiving money and sponsorship from people and companies. Knock this stuff off.

      • Danna Templeton

        AGREE When speaking against AMERICA.

  3. bobbi.p

    When athletes take a knee or whatever to protest against the USA – especially on an international stage, they should be striped of their medal, have their name removed from the records and forfeit any monetary gains as a result of their winning an event. They should not have their names in the record books except as being shamed. And any grants they were given should revert to loans that must be paid back. I’m sick and tired of these idiots who just want to get name recognition and attention. Without consequences, this will continue to happen. Too many snowflakes exist these days.

  4. Colleen La Rose

    Screw this moron. Get off team USA in your sport & sign up for this in a country of your choosing! & BTW: give back the medallion you were given!

    • Bill

      fully agree, both jerks should be banned, especially since they violated a signed agreement. No shortage of venues to protest, that this is not one of them.

  5. Iain MacKay

    Athletes are supported by money from Americans who love their country even with all its faults ! If they cannot be proud of this country then leave and go play for another country ! I remember seeing how the first black athlete in 1930’s and win in front of hitler’s master race , despite racial discrimination in America he was proud to be an American! He took no knee no he stood proud ! He left his complaints to another time but not disgracing his country ! If you cannot respect our flag then don’t compete for this country !! I’m tired of these social justice activists but social justice was a made up term ! Therefore stuff your social justice and do it on your own time away from the competition and awards platform !

  6. Nolan Wilcox

    A big Amen to bobbi.p and Colleen La Rose .They should be disqualified and striped of their winnings !

  7. Joe C

    Being on ANY team USA is a PRIVILEGE – Not a Right! Each Team USA athlete is there on the tax payer’s dime. They have signed an agreement and should be held accountable. Any violation is an automatic termination from the team, sent home that day, automatic forfeiture from the event, any awards, recognition, and automatic life time ban from EVER representing our GREAT country again!

  8. Howard Mayberry Jr.

    During WW II, President Roosevelt would begin each of his radio broadcasts with, “My fellow Americans….” Today, that assumption has become increasingly problematic as demonstrated daily by some quarters.

  9. Marilyn

    He signed an agreement not to do that. That’s like a contract and he broke it. It’s an honor to represent our country and he’s a disgrace for disrespecting our country and his team. He’s needs to be removed immediately. Let Nike give him a contract with the disgraced Collin K.

    • Marilyn

      How do you correct typing mistakes on this website? I meant to say give him a contract. Actually, I would like for these two dishonorable athletes be taken to another country.

  10. Dianna

    they have right to protest BUT they’re to do it on their own time not while they’re representing United States of America! there are other people just as good or better they’d love to participate in these contests & they’d be PROUD to REPRESENT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! these “whiney babies” should be striped of their medals & have to refund all funds that were spent on their expenses!

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