Olympic gold medalist and California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner criticized the media for narrowing in on activist athletes, saying the majority of American Olympians are “patriotic,” Fox News reported Friday.
“I was the first person ever to put an American flag at the finish line. We need more of that,” Jenner told the outlet. “And I guarantee you, ninety-eight percent, ninety-nine percent of the athletes that are going over there are patriotic. But unfortunately, the media focuses on the ruins of the world. And it’s a shame. It’s an absolute shame.”
The former athlete added that U.S. Olympic athletes should have “dignity and respect for our country and for our values.”
Jenner made the statement in reference to Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who turned away from the American flag and covered her head with a t-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” during the June 27 U.S. Olympic track and field trials. Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw said Berry should be kicked off the team over the incident. (RELATED: ‘Y’all Are Obsessed With Me’: Gwen Berry, An Olympian Who Turned Away From The Flag During National Anthem, Responds To Criticism)
Following Berry’s protest, White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended her by saying the nation “hasn’t lived up to our highest ideals” at a June 28 press conference.
Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the country’s bicentennial, according to ESPN.
The former Olympian told Judge Jeanine Pirro that Berry “disrespected the flag,” but has a right to make a “political statement” in a July 17 interview.
“I’ve seen through the years the deterioration of our flag, of our love of country, I still love our country,” Jenner said. “We certainly have issues, but I’m a patriot. I’ve seen it go down to now, we just saw this hammer thrower disrespect our flag and that bothers me.”
“People like that, who are going to disrespect our flag, to make a political statement and maybe get more hits on social media, technically have a right to do that. But they have the right to deserve the consequences that will come out of their actions.”
American athletes have protested against the flag and National anthem through kneeling and turning away from the flag. In June, a transgender athlete said he wanted to win the Olympic games in order to burn the American flag at the podium.