During an appearance on CBS on Monday, Bill Rhoden complained that people waving the U.S. flag at the Games in Japan triggered him as it reminded him of the January 6 protests.
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“My favorite part of the Olympics was always going to the stadium for the opening ceremonies,” Rhoden said.
“I love the opening ceremonies, the march of countries.“
“Then I just realized, you know, man, particularly after these last four years, I had it wrong.”
Rhoden referred to an article he penned for the New York Times during the 2012 London Olympics, titled: “Opening Ceremony Brings Out the Good Side of Nationalism.”
In the article, he praised Team USA for proudly waving the flag at the event.
Nine years later, however, Rhoden has drastically changed his tune.
“We’ve seen the rise of white nationalism.“
“Nationalism is not good.“
“And also, this whole idea — I keep thinking back on the Capitol riots, and I saw a lot of, you know, US flags.“
“So now when I see the flag and the flag raised, what — what America am I living in?”
Rt.com reports: According to the ESPN writer, the Tokyo Olympics should be a “time of soul searching” for the United States, adding that winning medals might be “antithetic” to the quiet introspection that the nation so desperately needs.
His provocative commentary failed to score points with many on social media.
Jonathan Gilliam, a popular conservative commentator and former Navy SEAL, described Rhoden’s performance as a “brain dead leftist rant.”
One well-known sports analyst, Gerry Callahan, suggested Rhoden must have rejoiced when his Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) “friends” burned American flags during weeks of nationwide anti-racism protests last year.
Others urged the ESPN columnist to avoid such broad generalizations when speaking about the US flag and what it represents. One particularly unimpressed commenter accused him of “peddling and grifting off victimhood.”
Rhoden received some backup on social media, however. Several tweets praised his remarks and said he should make regular appearances on CBS.
The Biden administration has claimed white supremacists and other right-wing elements have become a top security concern for the United States, pointing to the events on January 6, as well as other plots allegedly linked to domestic extremists, as evidence of this trend.
This narrative has come under growing scrutiny, however. Earlier this month, reports emerged that undercover FBI informants may have played a key role in a plan hatched by alleged extremists to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, raising questions about the actual seriousness of the plot. As for the storming of the Capitol on January 6: a recent poll found most Americans would prefer Congress to investigate the BLM riots, which have caused extensive damage to cities across the country.