DENVER (CBS Local) — Two U.S. athletes have been placed on probation for 12 months for their political protests last week at the Pan Am Games.
American gold medalist fencer Race Imboden took a knee as the U.S. national anthem played at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, to protest racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and “a president who spreads hate.”
Hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist when the anthem played during her medal ceremony to “stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who’s making it worse,” she told USA Today.
“I disagree with the moment and manner in which you chose to express your view,” Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, wrote in letters of reprimand to both athletes, according to The Associated Press.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 20, 2019
Neither protests on the Pan Am medals stand were met with immediate consequences, but Hirshland’s letter was interpreted as a clear signal to athletes who try to do the same next summer at the Olympics in Tokyo could face a different reaction.
“Going forward, issuing a reprimand to other athletes in a similar instance is insufficient,” she wrote.
Before going to the Olympics, athletes sign forms stating they’re aware of the rules that forbid political protest and won’t break them.
“We recognize that we must more clearly define for Team USA athletes what a breach of these rules will mean in the future,” Hirshland wrote. “Working with the (athletes and national governing body councils), we are committed to more explicitly defining what the consequences will be for members of Team USA who protest at future Games.”