Some students refuse to row for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics because of their negative feelings about America.
Instead, they choose to support individual athletes who participate in the games.
Conservative news channel Campus reform interviewed students from the University of South Florida (USF) prior to the opening ceremony of the games and found that many students would not support their country’s team.
This comes as hammer thrower Gwen Berry made headlines worldwide for turning away from the American flag while the Star-Spangled Banner played at the Oregon Olympic track and field trials last month.
Conservative news channel Campus Reform interviewed students from the University of South Florida (interview pictured above) ahead of the games opening ceremony and found that many students would not lean on Team USA
This interview comes as hammer thrower Gwen Berry (left) made global headlines by turning away from the American flag while the Star-Spangled Banner played during the Olympic track and field trials, as pictured above
Citing Berry’s demonstration, reporter Ophelie Jacobson asked USF students if they believed athletes had the right to protest and demonstrate their political beliefs. Many answered yes.
“Oh, 100 percent,” said a male student. “Given what’s going on with this country and how divided our politics has been, there’s really no reason to stand for such a country anyway, so I agree.
“Personally, yes,” said another man. “People would argue it’s a sign of disrespect to do that, but staying away during the national anthem or turning your back or doing whatever with the flag – that’s a form of protest and that’s their right.”
One student even argued that athletes are allowed to protest at the Olympics because countries use the games to their advantage politically.
‘Does not matter what [athletes] do, the Olympics will be used for politics anyway, because even if the US or some other country wins, that country will use their victory to show that our country is the best,” he said, pointing out that he don’t think America is the ‘greatest country’.
Jacobson also asked students if they were ashamed of Team USA athletes “who aren’t even proud to be American, it seems.”
“I don’t think so, because I don’t like being American either, even though I was born here,” one woman said. “I think there is such corruption and crumbling infrastructure.”
‘Why is there no free health care? Why are so many people suffering because of housing?… And that’s such a good example of how damn corrupt it is here,” she continued.
The students interviewed say they support the protest of athletes, which was at the center of the Tokyo Olympics. Citizens have also protested the games (Photo: People with placards during an anti-Olympic protest in front of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cauldron in Yume no Ohashi)
Several Olympians have publicly protested in Tokyo to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, including members of the British men’s rugby union 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 don’t have “any obligation to represent it good or bad.”
They said athletes should compete and try to take home gold medals, but they don’t have to do that for their country – they can compete for themselves and their teammates.
Many students also said that in this year’s competitions they will go for athletes rather than one particular country.
‘I will work individually for athletes. I don’t support any team just because it’s a country I live in,” explains one student. “Patriotism shouldn’t be so strong.”
“I’m not for countries, I’m for athletes,” said another.
While these students’ voices are not a full representation of the USF community or America as a whole, they reflect the ongoing demonstrations that take place during the games.
Athlete protest, which was once banned at the Olympics, is at the center of Tokyo.
Players from around the world have kneeled to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Bloomberg reported.
As well as Berry turning her back on the flag, we also saw women’s soccer players from Britain, Chile and Japan kneeling, Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado and members of the British men’s rugby team.
Alvarado also raised her fist after finishing her floor routine on Sunday.