Gwen Berry turned away from the flag and faced the stands during the anthem before holding up a shirt that said “Activist Athlete.”
“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” claimed Berry. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
“They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,” continued Berry. “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.”
Berry claimed the playing of the anthem was a “setup” and that she did not intend to stage a protest.
‘”I didn’t really want to be up there,” she said. “Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade.”
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” continued Berry. “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.”
A USA Track and Field representative disputed Berry’s perception of the anthem playing.
“The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today,” said spokeswoman Susan Hazzard. “We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.”