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George Foreman’s patriotic — and timely — message

The former Olympian reaffirmed his love for America this weekend despite years of criticism about his patriotism

Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman speaks at the Sports Illustrated Legacy Awards in Louisville, Ky., in 2015.
Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman tells a story of a young Muhammad Ali to the audience at the Sports Illustrated Legacy Awards on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Louisville, Ky.
Timothy D. Easley, Associated Press

George Foreman — boxing great and entrepreneur — is not ashamed to be American and he wants everyone to know it. The Olympic boxer shared his patriotic 4th of July sentiments with a passionate tweet, reports Newsweek.

  • Foreman’s patriotism once again stood in stark contrast to protests from other Olympic athletes, just like it did during his gold medal win at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, says The Washington Examiner.
  • Last week, American hammer thrower and Olympic qualifier Gwen Berry turned away from the flag during the national anthem, the Deseret News reported.
  • Foreman did not say if his tweet intended to respond to Berry’s protest, reports Breitbart.

Here’s why Foreman has received criticism and still stands by his patriotic sentiments 54 years later.

What did George Foreman say about being an American?

Sunday, Foreman tweeted that, “For about 54 years, people have ask me not to keep saying “I love America” Well I do and I’m not ashamed. Don’t leave it; Love it. Happy 4th of July.”

  • When Foreman won his final boxing match of the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics, he paraded around the ring while waving an American flag, reports The Washington Examiner.

At the time, other Black American Olympians used their wins to send a different message, says Newsweek.

Why has Foreman’s patriotism been criticized?

During the 1968 Olympics, two Black athletes — Tommie Smith and John Carlos — famously raised their fists in protest of the treatment and poverty of Black people in America while on the medal podium, reports Newsweek.

Foreman did not.

  • In a 2012 interview, Foreman said that “I had a lot of flak. In those days, nobody was applauded for being patriotic. The whole world was protesting something. But if I had to do it all again, I’d have waved two flags,” per The Washington Examiner.
  • In a 2018 interview, Foreman has maintained that there is a place for protests, “but, understandably, I am in love with the national anthem, and wavin’ that flag. I love that stuff,” per Breitbart.