Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry who turned her back on the US flag during the national anthem has weighed in on the racist abuse directed at England soccer players, saying that fans ‘only love us when it benefits them’.
The 32-year-old Olympian tweeted on Monday that the racist abuse three black players – Marcus Rashford, 23, Jadon Sancho, 21, and Bukayo Saka, 19, – had faced was a ‘heartbreaking situation’ following their defeat in the Euro final.
The English players have faced a storm of online racist abuse after they each missed spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy a day earlier.
‘Heartbreaking situation! Why am I not surprised! This hate is the reason why athletes cannot ‘just be athletes’, Berry tweeted.
Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry (left) who turned her back on the US flag during the national anthem earlier this month has weighed in on the racist abuse directed at England soccer players, saying that fans ‘only love us when it benefits them’
‘We must stand against these social issues until they no longer affect our lives! Sending my love to Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka and their families.’
She added that: ‘They only love us when it benefits them.’
Berry joined the chorus of sport stars, royalty, religious leaders and politicians who condemned the racist abuse.
Facebook and Twitter said on Monday they were scrambling to take down the racially abusive comments directed at the English players. Instagram, however, told users that monkey emojis ‘DON’T breach rules’.
‘The abhorrent racist abuse directed at England players last night has absolutely no place on Twitter,’ a Twitter spokesperson said.
‘In the past 24 hours, through a combination of machine learning based automation and human review, we have swiftly removed over 1,000 Tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating our rules – the vast majority of which we detected ourselves proactively using technology. ‘
Facebook said earlier in a statement it had ‘quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules’.
‘No one thing will fix this challenge overnight, but we’re committed to keeping our community safe from abuse.’
It comes just weeks after Berry defended her history of racially-charged and offensive tweets after a series of derogatory comments she made about Chinese, Mexican and white people came to light.
The offensive tweets dated back 10 years but were still visible on her account when she caused an uproar by snubbing the American national anthem during her Olympic qualifier.
‘Is that the best THEY could come up with?’ Berry tweeted alongside a news link regarding her part comments.
The English players have faced a storm of online racist abuse after they each missed spot-kicks in a penalty shootout with Italy a day earlier. Bukayo Saka is comforted by teammates after missing his penalty shoot-out
Berry joined the chorus of sport stars, royalty, religious leaders and politicians who condemned the racist abuse against the three black players
‘I’ll just say I can relate to the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA Brett Kavanaugh and agree, there’s a lot of s**t I don’t do like I did when I was 18 or 20.’
Berry turned her back earlier this month when the national anthem was being played after her Olympic qualifier.
Toward the end of the anthem, Berry picked up a black T-shirt with the words ‘Activist Athlete’ emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.
She later defended her protest, saying she was ‘tricked’ into being there at that moment, and was enraged and confused, insisting the anthem did not represent her – but that she still loves the United States.
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.’