Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., says it is unacceptable for Americans to disrespect the flag that ''people have fought and died for'' in reference to reports some Olympic athletes are preparing to or have already taken part in anti-American protests.
''To have our country, who is the beacon of hope for so many, to have the athletes ... it's a privilege, not a right, to compete. They earned that right, but they do it in universities and in states of higher learning that are paid for by taxpayers, which represent the American way of life,'' Norman said Monday while appearing on Newsmax's ''American Agenda.''
''If you want your five minutes of fame, go do it somewhere else,'' he added. ''Don't do it on the national stage like this. There's no place for it, and it's time for it to end.''
Norman is one of several GOP lawmakers threatening to dissolve and replace the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee board of directors if its leadership does not take disciplinary action against athletes who protest.
In a letter to the USOPC, Norman and the other lawmakers said they have ''serious concerns about radical, anti-American statements'' recently made by Olympic athletes and asked the board to enforce Article 50 of the IOC rules, which prohibits ''demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda'' from ''any Olympic sites, venues, or other areas.''
''The Empowering Olympic, Paralympic, and Amateur Athletes Act, enacted in October 2020, gives Congress the power, through a joint resolution, to dissolve the USOPC Board of Directors, terminate recognition of the USOPC as a national governing body of the U.S. Olympic teams, and replace the dissolved committee with a governing body that can adequately represent America and its athletes on the world stage,'' they wrote.
Olympic hammer thrower Gwen Berry turned her back to the flag at the trials in June, and transgender BMX freestyle rider Chelsea Wolfe said she wanted to win so she could ''burn a US flag on the podium'' due to the Trump administration's position on transgender girls in sports.
Norman urged athletes who wish to protest not to take the stage if they win or place.
''Let politics stay out of it. If they disagree, then there's a time and a place for them to get involved … and work for what they think is the right way to do it. Not on the Olympic stage.''
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