Gwen Berry is sponsored by 'Defund the Police' activists Color of Change

Gwen Berry is sponsored by 'Defund the Police' activists Color of Change
Gwen Berry is sponsored by 'Defund the Police' activists Color of Change

Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who sparked outrage by turning her back on the national anthem on the podium on Sunday, is being sponsored by an activist group which campaigns to defund the police.

Berry, 31, turned her back on Sunday when the national anthem was being played after her Olympic qualifier.

She said she was tricked into being there at that moment, and was enraged and confused, insisting the anthem did not represent her - but she still loves the United States.

On Tuesday, an activist group which promotes the idea of defunding the police, Color of Change, revealed that they funded her.

'We're proud to sponsor @MzBerryThrows, to have negotiated a sponsorship with @PUMA and to continue to push corporations to support Black athletes who speak out for our communities,' Color of Change tweeted. 

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'Grateful for Gwen's leadership today and every day.' 

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

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

Gwen Berry raises her Activist Athlete T-Shirt over her head during the metal ceremony after the finals of the women's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials

Gwen Berry raises her Activist Athlete T-Shirt over her head during the metal ceremony after the finals of the women's hammer throw at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials

Berry replied: 'Thank you Color of Change for always standing with me.'

Color of Change, based in Oakland, California, was formed in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

It intends 'to use online resources to strengthen the political voice of African Americans.' 

On their website, they state: Today we're asking corporate sponsors to stand with Gwen Berry, the Pan-American gold medalist who was abandoned by sponsors and lost 80% of her income after she raised her fist on the awards podium. 

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'And we'll keep fighting for Black athletes' right to raise their voices without sacrificing their careers.' 

The group have been outspoken in favor of defunding the police. 

'Policing is a violent institution that must end,' said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, in June. 

'We imagine a country where there is enough money to educate our children, care for our sick and feed those who are financially unstable. 

'Defunding the police allows for this vision.'

The left-wing group also has active petitions in favor of defunding the police at both the local and national levels. 

Berry, in interviews explaining her protest on Sunday, she said she felt like officials only played the anthem to 'set her up' and that she had been told it would be played before she walked on to the podium, not while she was there. 

She also said she didn't want to be standing for pictures for long because it was hot. 

The trial organizers insisted this wasn't the case and that the anthem played every day at the same time.   

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. 

'The entire point of the Olympic team is to represent the United States of America. It's the entire point. It's one thing when these NBA players do it, OK we'll just stop watching. But now the Olympics Team?' he said in an interview with Fox.  

Berry responded on Instagram: 'I said what I said... I meant what I said.. STOP PLAYING WITH ME!! PERIOD!'

Activists are seen at a Defund the Police protest in New York City on June 29

Activists are seen at a Defund the Police protest in New York City on June 29

On Twitter, she said: 'I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can't. That's why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE.

'These comments really show that: 1.) people in American rally patriotism over basic morality. 2.) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax.' 

On Tuesday, Berry told the Black News Channel why she protested. 

'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. 

'It's disrespectful and it does not speak for Black Americans. It's obvious. There's no question.' Whether or not the line is actually racist remains a point of discussion among historians. 

Berry lashed out at Fox News and Dan Crenshaw, saying they were 'obsessed' with her

Berry lashed out at Fox News and Dan Crenshaw, saying they were 'obsessed' with her

Berry also defended her protest in a series of tweets and Instagram posts, saying 'I meant what I said!'

Berry also defended her protest in a series of tweets and

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