A U.S. Olympic gold medalist may face punishment for kneeling during the National Anthem.
26-year-old Race Imboden decided to take a knee during the National Anthem after winning a gold medal with the USA fencing team at the Pan American Games. Imboden is the only USA team member who kneeled during the U.S. National Anthem.
Imboden took to Twitter after the games to explain his decision to kneel.
Many Twitter users were upset that he chose to use the term sacrifice to describe his decision to kneel because many believe it is a privilege to be an American and to compete on the international level for the United States.
However, Imboden’s actions may cost him his future in the sport of fencing. Before competing in the Pan American games, Imboden signed an agreement “to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature.”
A spokesperson from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) made the following statement about Imboden breaking his commitment: “In this case, Race 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 [sic] reviewing what consequences may result.”
At this time, it is not clear what disciplinary action may be taken against Imboden.
The trend of athletes kneeling in protest during the U.S. National Anthem was started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Kaepernick claims his kneeling protest to raise awareness of racism and police brutality against African-Americans.
Many believe that the kneeling protests have transformed into a blanket protest for left-wing social issues and opposition to President Trump.