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Olympic athletes who disrespect the American flag should be disqualified, Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) told the Todd Starnes Show Wednesday.
Norman and Lesko are one of several GOP lawmakers who sent letters to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee board of directors concerned about athletes spewing anti-American rhetoric and threatening to form a new committee if it doesn’t take action against athletes who protest.
“They shouldn’t be able to compete in the Olympics,” Lesko said. “Come on, we’re sending them there as representatives from America and they’re turning their back on the American flag or they’re saying, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to win so I can go up on the podium and burn an American flag.'”
Lesko added: “This is outrageous. It’s time for Americans to stand up. America first.”
Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry turned her back to the flag at the trials in June and transgender BMX freestyle rider Chelsea Wolfe wanted to win to “burn a US flag on the podium.”
“It just shouldn’t be tolerated,” Norman said. “Rule 50 in the charter states that you can’t use that stage, that venue to voice your political opinion one way or another.”
Norman added: “If they can’t abide by the rules, we would push for disqualification, and rule 50 prevents it. Not after the fact. When they have some slap on the wrist, they shouldn’t be able to compete if that’s what they’re going to do.”
Nationally-syndicated radio host Todd Starnes did not mince words reacting to Team USA’s women’s soccer team kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter.
“If a single American athlete dares to take a knee during the national anthem, they should be immediately yanked off the platform,” Starnes said. “They should be stripped of their medals. They should be kicked off the team and they need to tear up their plane ticket and have that ungrateful traitor sent home.”