A Pan American Games fencing teammate broke with his team and country, taking a knee to protest during the national anthem, and now the governing body is weighing “consequences” for the political demonstration.
“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature,”U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee spokesman said in a statement to The Associated Press.
“In this case, Race [Imboden] didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC. We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”
Race Imboden teamed with Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin to win the team gold medal Friday in Lima, Peru, but his teammates stood tall during the podium ceremony, while Imboden knelt behind them.
“We must call for change,” Imboden tweeted. “This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants.
He continued in a successive tweet:
“and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list. I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.”
This is not the first protest staged by Imboden, who kneeled after a World Cup event in 2017, NBC Sports reported.
And this is not the first time the USOPC issues a statement denouncing political demonstrations, reportedly doing the same after hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist during the national anthem Saturday, per the report.