A member of the U.S. men’s fencing team staged a national anthem protest at the Pan American Games, saying, “We must call for change.”
Race Imboden and two teammates were winners of gold in a team foil competition at the games in Lima, Peru, Friday and he took a knee on the podium at the medal ceremony.
He won the gold with teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, both of whom stood for the anthem.
“We must call for change,” Imboden said afterward on Twitter. “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,” he said. “Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants.”
The political protest could lead to disciplinary action by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC,” Mark Jones, Vice President of Communications, USOPC said in a statement on Saturday.
“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.”
Colin Kaepernkick sparked controversy—and the wrath of President Trump—after kneeling during the national anthem in a protest against racial injustice.
His protest led to similar protests by athletes in other sports.
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Imoden, 26, won an Olympic bronze medal in Rio De Janeiro three years ago.