Boxing great George Foreman said he is “not ashamed” of his love for America in an Independence Day tribute, drawing a stark contrast with some professional athletes’ recent protests of the U.S. flag.
“For about 54 years, people have ask[ed] me not to keep saying ‘I love America,'” Foreman wrote in a tweet, accompanied by a photo of him wearing a Team USA boxing uniform and holding a U.S. flag that was taken after he won the Olympic gold medal in 1968. “Well I do and I’m not ashamed. Don’t leave it; Love it. Happy 4th of July.”
At 19 years of age, Foreman competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and nabbed the gold medal, beating Soviet boxer Jonas Cepulis to become heavyweight champion of the games. Foreman, who would later go on to become a world heavyweight champion, waved a U.S. flag as he paraded about the ring after his Olympic victory.
For about 54 years, people have ask me not to keep saying “I love America” Well I do and I’m not ashamed. Don’t leave it; Love it.Happy 4th of July. pic.twitter.com/EqWmbWjgbz
— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) July 4, 2021
“I had a lot of flak,” he said of the incident in a 2012 interview. “In those days, nobody was applauded for being patriotic. The whole world was protesting something. But if I had to do it all again, I’d have waved two flags.”
Foreman’s Sunday tribute stands in contrast to some other prominent athletes’ views of the flag.
During a recent Olympic qualifier ceremony, hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who placed third in the event, turned away from the U.S. flag and displayed a T-shirt that read “Activist Athlete” as the national anthem played.
Let’s be clear: I do respect the constitution,” Berry told CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday following the incident. “Because obviously, I was exercising my constitutional right. But I will not stand for any type of symbol or song that does not stand for all people in America.”
“We’ll see,” Berry said when asked about whether she will do something similar during ceremonies at the Tokyo Games. “It just depends on how I’m feeling and what I want to do in that moment.”
Other athletes have taken to protesting the U.S. flag and national anthem, with scores of professional athletes kneeling during the festivities as a form of protest on behalf of social justice ever since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick made the move in 2016.
Republican lawmakers have pushed back against the protests, with some calling for Berry to be removed from the U.S. Olympic team.
“If Ms. Berry is so embarrassed by America, then there’s no reason she needs to compete for our country,” Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said. “She should be removed from the Olympic team.”
Author: Jeremy Beaman
Source: Washington Examiner: George Foreman expresses patriotism amid athletes’ protest of US flag