An ESPN sportswriter said Monday he couldn't enjoy the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics because the presence of the American flag reminded him of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the "rise of White nationalism."
"I love the opening ceremonies, march of countries. Then I realized, you know, man, particularly after these last four years, I had it wrong. Nationalism is not good. We've seen the rise of White nationalism. Nationalism is not good," he said in a clip flagged by NewsBusters. "And also, this whole idea — I keep thinking back on the Capitol riots, and I saw a lot of, you know, U.S. flags."
"So now when I see the flag and the flag raised, what — what America am I living in? You know, are the ones that don't think, you know, we should be here?" he went on, referring to him and other African Americans.
It was unclear if Rhoden was suggesting some of Team USA's Olympic delegation may secretly harbor racist views.
Rhoden also said the American basketball team's struggles – it lost 83-76 to France on Sunday to jeopardize its gold medal ambitions – were rightfully humbling for the team and country as a whole.
"I think we should be humbled. You know, I mean, this whole last year in this country — it's about entitlement and privilege. Nobody epitomizes that more than basketball," he said, adding he still felt the team would win gold.
He later said the Olympics "should be a time of soul searching and winning sometimes is antithetic to soul searching" and felt the Games should have been canceled because of a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Liberal writers expressing discomfort with the American flag is nothing new this year. Left-wing New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay said she found the presence of American flags during a visit to Long Island this year "disturbing," and her newspaper declared the flag a divisive symbol.