Anthony Ervin Makes Statement After Kneeling for National Anthem at Raia Rapida

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 Raia Rapida challenge prides itself on fast swimming from sports icons around the globe. By adding women to the mix, they hoped to stir up the action this year.

But it was not only the female competitors that made the event more interesting this time around- three-time Olympic Gold medalist Anthony Ervin did so as well.

According to a Tweet from Alex Pussieldi, a Brazilian swimming comentator, Ervin knelt for the Americans’ National Anthem prior to the start of competition:

His actions follow those of many professional athletes from a range of sports over the last month. The protests started in an NFL pre-season game last year, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat down during the Anthem. “This is bigger than football,” he said in 2016.

Kaepernick said he was protesting the wrongdoings of black people in America, while more issues have come up since his original action.

Ervin Tweeted the following after the competition:

Ervin has been known to make statements about similar issues in the past. He is part black, Native American, Italian and Jewish. In 2016, he explained his experience as a black athlete in a predominantly-white sport. And when it comes to voicing his opinions and beliefs, Ervin has not been one to keep to himself:

“I’m always torn between trying to at least being able to steer what the public perception is of my public image is versus who I know I am in my personal space,” Ervin said. “I don’t know what people think…and I’ve relinquished trying to understand what my public image is. Nothing about it has aggravated me to the point of being sick.”

The annual Raia Rapida event did not show anything different from Ervin. While his team (Hellen Moffit, Chuck Katis, and Kendyl Stewart) may have taken second in the swimming rankings, only time will tell if his decision to kneel during the National Anthem will make a significant impact on this issue in the sport of swimming.

Team USA and the NFL contributed to this report. 


  1. avatar

    wow. How edgy and original.

  2. Donald P. Spellman

    I’m 100% in support of Tony’s right to peaceful protest.

  3. Jennifer Brurok Podlin

    Heads up Mr Ervin… no one gives a crap what your ethnicity is- we just want to see fast Swimming. Period. It’s been obvious from his life actions, outside of the pool, that it is Ervin himself that has issues with who he is; please don’t ruin this sport because of political junk.

    • Natalie Lau

      Heads up Ms. Podlin…. maybe you don’t give a crap but other people do. I especially love that he’s standing up for what he believes in. Isn’t that what you should be teaching the younger generation as a role model? When a young swimmer is thinking of quitting because they’re the only minority on their team, they’re gonna look at the professionals for the motivation to keep swimming. Do not discount Mr Ervin’s “political junk” simply because you don’t agree with his beliefs.

      • avatar

        Interesting how many people are so concerned about the race of swimmers. Why do you care? I too love this guy’s ability. I cheered so much when he won the 50. Amazing. And then we need to here about his ideology. Turned me off. Still want him to do well. Just sickening how this BS is infecting all sports.

      • avatar
        Darsha Stockton Doran

        Susan L. Lansbury Oh really, and when will it be the proper time and proper place. I think minorities have been waiting way too long for both EQUALITY and JUSTICE. People like you are the problem. There is no time or place that will ever be suitable for you. My daughter swam competitively from age 5 through college. Over her 6 years of college [BA/MA] she had a Muslim and a black roommate both of whom received derogatory comments regarding race and religion while competing. It is an UGLY, CRUEL world out there when someone is desirous of SCAPEGOATING!! For my husband, my daughter and myself every forum is acceptable if it breaks down barriers, makes people think, and hopefully accomplishes something.

    • Natalie Lau

      Susan L. Lansbury like at a swim meet where a professional swimmer could easily get attention to an issue that he’s passionate about?

    • Kirsten Erin Hoffman

      Susan L. Lansbury Yup, the time and place is when you have attention on you so you can show people how evil inequality is.

    • Ron Buda

      Susan L. Lansbury like know and in the pool setting

    • Nissen Troy

      Graduate college and maybe experience some of life away from the shelter of your parents, then comment on the actions of someone over twice your age who has accomplished more than you could probably do in 10x lifetimes child

      • avatar
        Darsha Stockton Doran

        Having graduated from college and having a swimmer daughter who competed through college I agree with Natalie as does my daughter. She had a Muslim and a black roommate who both were the brunt of derogatory comments while swimming. I say attack scapegoating and racism where it takes place and unfortunately in America it takes place EVERYWHERE!

    • Carole Machol-Atler

      Natalie Lau heads UP Natalie … it’s her opinion. And your entire comment was IF, IF, IF. Her opinion is different from yours… and that’s okay.

    • 余梓鍵

      Peaceful protest! Admired. Fight against inequality and racism!

    • Nissen Troy

      Susan L. Lansbury yeah there is a time and place, as a role model he chose time and place perfectly

    • Darnell James

      Susan L. Lansbury to white people there’s never a time and place to have this discussion.

    • Devin Sparks

      Thanks for your opinion, it is your right. He has his, and some intelligence to back it up.

    • Jennifer Brurok Podlin

      Darnell James absolutely disagree with your overgeneralization and obvious racism. God created all in his likeness and we are all equal. All sin is equal also. If you raise your children to know that all lives are valuable and precious, color is not even an issue. Until parents start teaching their children to understand that, there will always be hate like you display with your comment. Politicians, celebrities and athletes are not responsible for instilling love and compassion in our hearts. It’s a parent & family’s responsibility.

    • Darnell James

      Jennifer Brurok Podlin Obvious racism? Im half white lol. I love myself, my family and my white friends.

      You have illustrated the ignorance that strengthens the limitation of necessary conversations. News flash, not every black person comes from a broken home. Systematic oppression effects minorities from great structured loving homes as well. Lol.

      You paint yourself to be a caring Individual. I urge you to be more open minded, less judgmental and try to understand the systematic obstacles some people deal with, some more than others.

    • Jan Float

      Jennifer Brurok Podlin: Through Tony’s life story, he has inspired & motivated countless others. At 35 years old in Rio, he owned the Splash & Dash … capturing Gold! Who does that? Having met him, we assure you: Tony’s history is to be admired — not condemned!

    • Neil Stapley

      Now if people on here start responding to you with comments like shut the hell up, be quiet or take your political BS elsewhere you would probably be the first person to run crying to your pocket constitution and attempt to ram your first amendment rights down our throats. Agree or not agree with these athletes protests they are exercising their first amendment rights in the best possible non-violent way. “I may not agree with what you are saying but I defend your right to say it”

    • Neil Stapley

      Nissen Troy like being homeless?

  4. Kevin Adkins

    All this time I thought swimmers were leaders not followers! My swimmer friends and I prefer to actually do things about problems we feel strongly about!

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Yeah, like Tony has never given a speech about diversity / inclusion or any other topic relating to his experiences in the sport?

    • Kevin Adkins

      Tell me, how much was he paid for these speeches?

    • Buster Smith

      Lol you’re not a swimmer Kevin – stop lmao

    • Natalie Lau

      Except he IS doing things about problems he feels strongly about??? He’s expressing his disagreement with what is occurring in his country. A country he represents in the Olympics and proudly wears the colors for every time he swims

    • Kevin Adkins

      Expressing his disagreement may help him sleep at night, but I don’t see how it helps in anyway with the problem. To do it in a way that is offensive to millions of people is a poor choice in my opinion.

    • Natalie Lau

      How is it offensive? There is literally nothing in the flag code that says you can’t kneel???? It does say you can’t make the flag into a design on disposable objects and yet for the Fourth of July there’s paper cups and plates you can easily buy in a 20 pack

    • Kevin Adkins

      Natalie, you cannot tell someone what is and what isn’t offensive. One thing for sure, if millions find it offensive, it probably is.

    • avatar

      Can you give three examples of how you and your other swimmer friends have united with your black friends and coworkers to help address the issue of police brutality and unequal redress under the law? Obviously this is not an issue you care about since you spent your time on here dismissing Anthony Ervin and not even suggesting that his issue is a real one. Maybe their will be a few black people on here who can help give you some perspective. Or maybe they will just agree with you….

      • avatar

        Jeff, Police Brutality happens at the same percentage in Indigenous American communities, and I see no one mentions that and plenty of athletes are unfortunately not including Native People in these concerns and are complicit in support of sports teams with Bigoted mascots. I smell hypocrisy not just from athletes, but also most supporters and I find it vey disappointing.

    • Nissen Troy

      Kevin you realize your argument “you cannot tell someone what is and what isn’t offensive” applies to you as well, right? What’s more offensive to you, kneeling during a song or massive amounts of humans killed/incarcerated based on the color of their skin?

    • Kevin Adkins

      So now you’re trying to say if someone doesn’t kneel, or support kneeling for the Anthem, they support “massive amounts of humans killed/incarcerated based on…..”? SMH. Typical liberal “thinking”! Don’t even dream of doing something that MIGHT offend a single student, employee or immigrant but it is totally acceptable to offend millions, as long as it is in the name of YOUR cause!

    • Thomas Inwood

      Natalie Lau you don’t get your own statement. You said the flag – the flag – cannot be made into a design. The plates you refer to were never flags As far as offensive goes – yes it is offensive to kneel for the flag or anthem. There are some things in this life that , just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. Would you disrespect your mother ? Your children ? Your spouse ? No , you wouldn’t. But you have the “ right “ – yet you wouldn’t. So , find a real way to make a difference and stop hiding behind your “right “

  5. Susan Popelar Burk

    Don’t make me boycott the Olympics too! No place for this at the pool!

    • Natalie Lau

      Lol yes there is. It’s in the first amendment try reading it again really slowly. If you need help I’m sure there’s a children’s version

    • Nissen Troy

      Actually there is a place for this, as it just happened- sorry Susan but white privilege is running out of hiding places, if you want to ignore real issues with our nation you’re gonna have to just hide in your little home of ignorance!

    • avatar
      Jeff the swimmer

      You mean like the time when black athletes could not compete for South African at the Olympics because of the color of their skin and racial make up? And the world eventually very slowly rallied until that changed? Like that? Guess what? We still have people treated like that at times in America. So this is a good a time as any and as good a place. If Ervin didn’t protest this way a bigot like you would never get the chance to learn anything or show us who you really are….. But believe it or not his kneeling or whatever allows you to do and say what you will and live how you want and support or not support whatever you want. His freedom is your freedom. Sad thing is people in other countries respect his right to do this more than you do….. You need to get out and about a little bit more. The point of this protest is that black people have a very different experience at times navigating the same roads literally and figuratively in America than you do. And that should disturb you.

    • Susan Popelar Burk

      Natalie Lau As a coach and a board member sweetly read this real slow it is what I say that goes . Also it’s a free country and I am free to boycott anything I want .
      I am sure you can read that real show and figure that out!

    • Buster Smith

      The Olympics will try to find a way to make it without you

  6. Aimee Trout-Foster

    so we are told that this isn’t protesting the flag or the anthem. Then why not do it before or after the anthem? Attention seeking. This hasn’t helped the NFL any. Now you’re going to bring this to swimming? You’d probalby get more out of it if you actually take action over those things you feel strongly about, instead of being passive agressive.

    • Natalie Lau

      Why is this passive aggressive? It’s a simple form of peaceful protest. It’s not doing anyone any harm and it certainly is not against the flag rituals.

    • Debi Skarecky-Hill

      Protests don’t happen when it’s convenient for you, Aimee. He is peacefully protesting!

    • Natalie Lau

      Aimee Trout-Foster why before? That doesn’t get the point across?

    • Ron Buda

      Because of what the flag symbolizes

    • avatar
      Jeff/ Swimmer/ Citizen

      If people protest in spaces where nobody can see or hear than it is n’t much of a protest. I suggest you ask the black friends and coworkers you have and know about their experiences in the world. And how well their issues have been addressed and how they feel about videos of police actions that are pretty bad. Anthony Ervin works in the community all the time. So do others. Years ago black athletes won glory for America in the Olympics and came home as less than second class citizens. Circa 1930’s to early 1960’s. They also came home and come home from the military and are afraid with good cause of being targeted or being subjected to excessive force if stopped or arrested. Different from white counterparts. Its not a useless self seeking cause. Many years ago people like you didn’t get why blacks and others were engaged in protest at lunch counters or did ‘nt think it mattered if black people used separate facilities by law. You think everybody should just be glad to be an American. And they should But they also have the right to fight to make things better for themselves so they get the same experiences and safety you get. Right now there are enough documented cases in the past three years not to mention in recent history ( last 10 years ) where that is not the case. When you are part of a group that is supposed to be covered by the law but actually is not then you can spout off with more authority. If Ervin did this before or after the anthem you would not have heard about it, wrote what you wrote or ever have the opportunity to get into a discussion and learn something. Which you can choose to do or not to do. And yes I am a patriotic American and the haters on here can go ahead and tear me a new one. If you and a lot of other people spent energy supporting the rights of others so they can have the safety and security you do – the protests would be done. And the NFL hasn’t helped themselves deal with the issue because they approached it with a lack of intellect, sensitivity or the ability to reason, communicate or problem solve. If that sounds familiar you might want to take a closer look at yourself.

  7. Mark Ryan

    Country first!!! Not your political opinion!

    • Natalie Lau

      Country first? A hunk of earth? Or what this country stands for? Which includes the first amendment

    • Nissen Troy

      Mark Ryan I feel bad for your closed mind!

    • Steve Harrison

      Hes not protesting police brutality. Hes seeking attention.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Steve Harrison : Complete ??.
      He’s kneeling to shine a light on inequality and in support of those protesting police brutality and profiling.

    • Catherine de Groot-Hedlin

      Steve Harrison he’s seeking attention for the cause of ending police brutality. Why are so many people against that cause?

    • Kristen Smith Jenkyns

      Catherine – Partly because it’s mostly a false narrative. Coming from a law enforcement family I’ve seen and heard the other side all my life. And partly because kneeling at that time (during the anthem and in front of the flag) DOES disrespect the flag and anthem and all those who’ve fought and died for our freedoms.

      • avatar

        Kristen Smith Jenkyns it is not a false narrative. I am sure a lot of the police stuff you learned and saw at home is true. But their are definitely some bad arrests and stops and police brutality. Its on video over and over again now. Is this most cops? Not at all. But the protests ( wherever they are happening ) is to address the injustices going on. The issue is that black have been targeted, profiled and abused with excessive force sometimes leading to death in some instances by police officers who are out of control for any number of reasons and proper legal redress has not happened. You fail to understand that both situations can be happening at the same time. But it is not a false narrative. You suggest these protests are not needed because their is not police brutality or violence based on race and in fact this just doesn’t happen. Anybody in Law Enforcement who can look at some of the videos surfacing and feel that that represents their profession gives me pause. You are a racist and do not recognize it. Now you know.

    • Natalie Lau

      No it doesn’t. Nowhere in the flag code does it ever say that kneeling is against the flag rituals. It’s also against the flag codes to make the flag printed onto disposable objects and clothes and yet there are paper plates and cups that can have the flag printed right on it

    • Susan L. Lansbury

      Agree. But your professional sport is not the place to do it. Opportunism.

    • Natalie Lau

      But it’s a professional sport. Peaceful protest is meant to garner attention. It’s actually the perfect place to do it

    • Bryan Hockman

      Watching a game the other week during the anthem I noticed several photographers kneeling while taking pictures. So, is it ok to kneel if you’re trying to get that shot?

    • 余梓鍵

      I hate the hypocrisy when Ryan lochte humiliated himself in Brazil

    • Christopher Hockman

      Bryan Hockman there’s a time and a place for everything and when you find that perfect time and that perfect place, someone will have a problem with it.

    • Steve Harrison

      Funny thing is all of you are hypocrites. You nor any law-abiding citizen will see police brutality. Because its a narrative created to keep down people by “the man”. Instead of disrespecting the men and women who have lost lives and limbs, stand up and rise above it. Use all your energy and fame to actually make a difference in your community. Do you see this happening? Nope. Because they want fame and attention…thats all.

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Steve Harrison : Yeah, calling ?? on this.
      I’m from a family that contains both law enforcement and attorneys. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen both sides of police brutality play out. Most of the time law enforcement acts properly with good training but that’s not what always happens and statistically a significant amount of the problems involve members of minorities. There are bad cops and there is bad policy still out there. Just like I believe there are bad doctors and bad priests and unethical lawyers. It would be both ignorant and naive for me, as a Caucasian in 2017, to believe otherwise.

    • Andrew Spencer Ashby

      I think the reason I haven’t seen this yet is because there are too few people stupid enough to post it. You are a rare breed, it’s best if you tell your handler that you’ve been on Facebook again…

    • Donald P. Spellman

      Andrew Spencer Ashby : Jesus still loves you……..even if you are a Cornhusker.

  8. Jeff Salomon

    Good for you. Glad to see him standing up to bring light to injustice by taking a knee. A swimmer with heart instead of hate, like most of these comments by privileged white swimmers. If this behavior upsets you then you have some serious soul searching to do.

    • Jeff Salomon

      Alissa Ferguson: Thank you for your thoughtful, and articulate response. Your command of the English language is astonishing. Thank you for proving my point.

    • 余梓鍵

      Fight for equality and fight against racism. Peaceful protest!

    • Scott Allen

      Except the protest is based on a lie , the stats do not support it, it’s a false fake narrative

    • Darnell James

      Jeff Salomon you’re appreciated.

    • Aimee Trout-Foster

      Jeff Salomon way to be divisive. Privileged white swimmers?

    • Jeff Salomon

      Aimee Trout-Foster: You are correct. I will delete that line. BTW: I am a white priveledged swimmer.

    • Rick Bohner

      ‘Standing up’ by taking a knee ? The idiocy knows no bounds, it seems. What overlord is he kneeling to ? Empty gesture for an ill defined cause with no clear objective – at all. Freaking brilliant ! ( sarcasm , for those not quite sure )

    • Jeff Salomon

      Rick Bohner: Wow. An ill defined cause? I think the cause has been quite well defined. You are just one of those people who refuse to acknowledge reality. Take comfort in that you are not alone in ignorance.

  9. Jan Charles Mittemeyer

    Did someone not get enough attention growing up? Aw, poor little Tony.

    • Natalie Lau

      Why would you discount his hard work to becoming a professional swimmer? If you look at the most well known swimmers, barely half of them are minorities. Did you even know him before this article? I doubt it. He’s one of the lesser known Olympic swimmers, drowned out by the accomplishments of other amazing (white) swimmers such as Phelps and Franklin

    • Nissen Troy

      Jan, are you a little triggered there? Does it make you uncomfortable when people of accomplishment force you to think via their peaceful protest, so you feel the need to instead attack the protestor with such an asinine comment?

  10. Adrienne Quinn Washington

    Good for you, Tony. Keep speaking out and shining a light on police brutality and institutional racism.

  11. Alexander B Gallant

    Thank you Anthony Ervin because America can no longer hide behind a white sheet. To all you haters out there, read the Constitution. First Amendment

    • Susan L. Lansbury

      …but he is “white” also. Same as the man who started it all. Same as our beloved President Obama.

      • avatar

        Susan L Lansbury you just proved without a doubt that you are a good old American Racist. Thank you for showing us who you are. Please do educate us all how racism and police brutality in America began with former President Obama. My understanding having completed grade school is that it began a little before that. If you have other historical data please do share it…..

    • Nissen Troy

      Because she is afraid, Natalie

    • Debi Skarecky-Hill

      How is taking a knee disrespectful to this Country … a Democracy that guarantees the right to peacefully protest? You probably have no problem with people wearing American Flag bikinis … because that’s super classy and respectful, right?!?

    • Michael Hayes

      Debi Skarecky-bHill saw your mama in an American Flag bikini and from my perspective st that time she looked very classy.

  12. Kristen Smith Jenkyns

    Please don’t bring this disrespect to our great sport of swimming too. ?

    • 余梓鍵

      You mean when Ryan lochte did that disgraceful act in Brazil?? Rather this peaceful protest than that silly act in Brazil by lochte

  13. avatar
    dumbass swimmers

    swimmers aren’t too smart. Phelps. Lochte. Irvin is just a follower. Not too original there. This hasn’t gone over well for the NFL, now you’re going to introduce this crap on the pool deck? Idiot.

  14. Dexter Thomas

    Dude is an Olympic gold medalist. He can do whatever he wants. I’m sure he’s accomplished more than any of the upset folk here combined. Respect to my fav swimmer ✊?

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      So because he’s famous means he can do whatever he wants…that’s what Harvey Weinstein thought.

    • Dexter Thomas

      Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. However he spent countless hours training for his success, so he can use his platform for peaceful protest. Your comparison to a Hollywood sexual predator falls flat.

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      Dexter Thomas I understand the process of swimming and the countless hours of training that goes into it. That has nothing to do with his choice to disrespect the country that provided him with the freedom to pursue his dreams. My point is directly referring to the comment made about how famous he is which means he can do whatever he wants. That comment speaks to the many egos so much that it ruined the careers of many.

    • Megan Matthews

      Veronica Corridan Gemma your comparison is disgusting and you should feel bad for even typing it. He implied that this man who has represented our country in a pretty epic, admirable way has earned the right to use his platform for good. Whether or not you agree with Anthony’s opinion, Dexter is right.

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      Megan Matthews nothing gives anyone the right to disrespect the many men and women who died for him and you and all Americans. Coming from a family of vets and swimmers….this act is unpatriotic and disappointing. It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with his opinion on the matter. He can use his game by running a marathon in the name of his cause, or getting into inner cities by helping youth. There are countless ways to help this cause….disrespecting our country especially on foreign land is never ok.

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      Btw….I’m a huge fan of Anthony Ervin and so are my swimmers and will continue to be a fan of his swimming.

    • Amy Hennies Priddle

      Kneeling for the National Anthem isn’t a disrespectful gesture. It is drawing attention to a problem in our country. Every soldier who has fought and died for that flag did so to help this nation progress past a point of impasse. This non-violent effort should be supported. It is never unpatriotic to want to better this country. And there is a folded flag encased in my home, and I know what the coin says.

    • Megan Matthews

      Veronica Corridan Gemma daughter and granddaughter of vets, and girlfriend of a vet. Also a swim instructor and ex competition swimmer. I don’t find kneeling unpatriotic in the least. You’re using the excuse of “disrespecting the country” to either mask the fact that you are a.) too lazy to look into why people are actually kneeling or b.) too unwilling to look past your own experiences and ego to admit that you hold a privilege that people of color in this country do not. Or maybe it’s all of the above. Your analogy was daft and you sound ignorant. I’m really not trying to be rude to you, but I’m so, so tired of people spewing the same crap you are. Over and overrrr.

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      Megan Matthews your assumptions and insults are not good for effective discussion. It is my opinion on it and according to countless other Americans I am not alone in my stance. Let’s leave it at that. Btw…you are rude. Good day. I sure hope you don’t speak to your athletes that way.

    • Megan Matthews

      Veronica Corridan Gemma listen and understand or don’t. That’s unfortunately your prerogative. “Effective discussion” comes when one actually has something intelligent to add to said discussion. You did not, but instead parroted what I’ve seen thousands of other lazy people say. Not on me. ?‍♀️

    • Veronica Corridan Gemma

      Megan Matthews take a look at the majority of the comments….you are in the minority. Again, I hope you do not speak to your athletes that way …if you really are a coach.

    • Megan Matthews

      Did she block me or see her way out?

    • Dexter Thomas

      I don’t see her comments any longer either ?

    • Peter Paul Reich

      U think because someone wins an olympic gold medal- they can do whatever they want????

      I think if you win the Medal of honor- or die in combat- the least any one of us can do is stand for the national anthem!!

    • Tom Patt

      Then why kneel at that point if it isn’t meant to be disrespectful .

  15. Jenn Ferguson

    Swimming doesn’t generate the monery football makes. It will die much easier.

    • Debi Skarecky-Hill

      I’m 100% certain the sport of swimming won’t “die” because a swimmer peacefully protests!

    • Jenn Ferguson

      Have you seen what’s happening with the ratings and revenue of the NFL?

    • Debi Skarecky-Hill

      I’m 100% certain the NFL is going anywhere either!

    • Catherine de Groot-Hedlin

      The revenue and ratings of the NFL have been declining for some time, probably because people do not want to watch a sport that does long-term damage to the brains of the participants.

  16. Rick Parker

    Just a has-been trying to be relevant.

    • Nissen Troy

      You know he won Gold (again) about a year ago, right? You know, in the Olympics?

    • Rick Parker

      I’m aware that he won gold last year at age 35. I won’t hold my breath for him making the Olympics again at age 39.

    • Nissen Troy

      Rick Parker so he’s a has been a year later? You ever swim at that level? Clearly not. I just don’t get the has been comment, hmm a guy who still makes national teams and spends his free time hosting clinics and talks for inner city kids and other at-risk groups making a peaceful protest seems to be making you upset- so you think he is a hasbeen? I’d rather be a has-been multi-gold medalist making a statement than a sad old white man making a comment on the internet trying to lessen this powerful move

    • avatar
      Chris Nissen

      A “has-been” who won an individual Olympic gold medal a year ago. How much hate and ignorance do you have in your body? What have you done that is significant lately, if ever?

    • Rick Parker

      It’s bad for the NFL and bad for swimming. And it will be bad for what’s left of his career.

  17. Jim Deitrick

    His jacket shows an American flag and the words United States Olympic Team. I expect Mr Ervin to return all apparel he received while representing the United States and to explain how kneeling during the United States anthem doesn’t disrespect all Americans . If he has an issue with police, do not use our sacred flag and anthem as a weapon in his battle. He should man up and take his statement to the police, not the country at large. There are times and places for everything… you picked the wrong time and wrong place for a beef with police. As inconsequence for his disrespectful behavior, I suggest the USOC did continue is financial benefits and participation as representative of US swimming events for one year. There are rights, and there are consequences.

    • Nissen Troy

      Keep trying Jim, maybe your facebook comment will reach all the way to the top of the USOC! Lol man, read a book or go outside to see whats going on- just because someone has earned the spot to swim for USA doesn’t take away their right to peaceful protest- anywhere

    • 余梓鍵

      The right to peaceful protest and equality.

    • Jim Deitrick

      Nissen Troy yes, they have that personal right, but some of those rights are modified once they don the red, white and blue as an official representative of our country. Ask Ryan Lochte how his personal embarrassment to the American team turned out while in Brazil . There are rights, and there are consequences. If Ervin or anyone has a serious issue with police, they should go directly to those they oppose! They should be smart enough not to offend the vast majority of Americans, including people like me who help fund the USOC. As Coach John Wooden once told Bill Walton ( paraphrasing) ” You are right, Bill, I don’t have the right to tell you not to have your hair below your ear, but I have the right to say who plays on my UCLA team… and we’re going to miss you!” Walton ran out the gym, jumped on his bike, and got a haircut! Again, there are rights, and there are consequences.

    • Jim Deitrick

      余梓鍵 Do it on his own time and when not wearing appparel provided by the USOC as a representative of the United States. He is making a personal statement; do it on his time and not when wearing clothing provided by the USOC.

    • Nissen Troy

      That’s a cute story about Wooden. He was legendary. This is 2017- times are different- you can be a good role model and speak up for injustice.

      I’m glad you brought up Lochte, let’s compare both cases: Lochte wins medals, goes out and gets hammered, DESTRUCTS PROPERTY and flees the country to escape punishment… spends next year banned and says sorry, goes on Dancing with the Stars.

      Ervin: wins medals. Spends year holding clinics, helping swimmers of all backgrounds, giving speeches and giving back- is it because he embarrassed his nation being an idiot like Lochte did in Rio? Nope, it’s because he cares for the people of this nation.

      Now, tell me how Lochte committing a crime that destructed property during the Olympics and now Ervin protesting peacefully (without breaking any USOC flag/anthem rules btw) compare and deserve the same treatment?

    • Nissen Troy

      Also can you explain your financial connection to the USOC? You claim you help fund it- so your investment in an Olympic committee gives you say over the rights of athletes? That’s interesting, it’s as though you feel your financial donations to the USOC give you partial ownership to athletes representing the country. Can you tell me more?

    • Jim Deitrick

      Nissen Troy What is his complaint? Why kneel? It’s lame. A kneel does not say what his important issue is. People see it and are perplexed. It’s disrespectful to the country and those who fought to preserve and protect our rights, including right to protest. At least Tommy Smith and John Carlos stood tall when the Stars and Stripes were raised and they gave a Black Power salute in 1968. Ervin can protest all he wants about whatever concerns him… just not when he is a US national representative at events when he should be proud to be an American . When he and others kneel, it becomes about them, not the event people want to watch. Same with Lochte… I imagine he would have been sent home without damaging property. Being drunk and disorderly while wearing US gear would be enough disrespect to garner a trip home. By the way, have Ervin describe what injustice he is complaining about and to do sufficient, valid research to support his position.

    • Nissen Troy

      We all know what this protest is about, it’s pretty damn late to play stupid and act like the world doesn’t know what this is about. I’m sorry but when a German soccer club (Hertha Berlin) kneels in solidarity with American athletes, it’s a little too late to say “know one knows what he’s doing this for.” Besides, if they didn’t know, then they would theoretically look as to why he did it, which would then bring more awareness to the issue.

    • Nissen Troy

      But let me say again: your argument that the world has no idea why he is kneeling is long gone, the world has been watching for some time now.

    • Matt Smith

      I’m american and I don’t feel disrespected.

    • Julie Tellier

      not the USOC, Ervin and Lochte hold a Registration Card with USA Swimming and violated USA Swimmings Code of Conduct

    • Jim Deitrick

      Nissen Troy … empirical evidence, please. No emotion or infrequent events seized by the media. Sure, police are people and make mistakes, just as you and I ! Some can be mean and vicious. So why show disrespect for the symbols of our country because of the actions of statistically insignificant few police? There are plenty of social injustices in this world and country…. so let’s go to all the shootings and murders in Chicago. Let’s take a knee and say a prayer in respect to those who were killed inChicago … but don’t cast blame on this country. It’s people… not the country.

    • Jim Deitrick

      Julie Tellier thank you, Julie! As we know, WIKI is not always reliable.

    • Nissen Troy

      Jim Deitrick So you believe that it is just a few bad apples in the police force then?

    • Jim Deitrick

      Nissen Troy There are plenty of media outlets and government leaders who aren’t sure what kneeling has morphed into. We know how it started… but junior and senior high kids do it for many different reasons.. some say it looks “cool”. Sad.

    • Chris Schmitz

      A piece of cloth and a song are not sacred. The ideals behind them are. He is representing the ideals very well.

    • Julie Tellier

      Jim Deitrick I’m sorry?? what?? Myself and my children hold USA swimming cards, didn’t look it up on Wikipedia

    • Kristine Murphy Grim

      It is his right to kneel. It is as respectful as praying and it is against the law to require him to stand. He doesn’t need to return anything.

    • Barbara Jeanne

      Jim Deitrick you’re just an old white man who has never experienced systemic racial injustice and inequality in your life. Your white privilege is showing big time and it’s not a good quality at all to display for all to see. Anthony Irwin and all the black football players take a knee to protest these injustices that American people of color suffer and have been suffering for generations in our country. They are NOT disrespecting our flag or being unpatriotic at all. They are simply exercising their first amendment right to peacefully protest to bring awareness to their plight and to try to affect change. That is being patriotic and we whites who sit by and do nothing to stop this systemic racial injustice are complicit in it happening and continuing. Wake up and smell the coffee, put yourself in these peoples shoes for once in your life and educate yourself about racial injustice in our country, please!

    • Nissen Troy

      Julie Tellier tell me how Ervin violated the code of conduct- I’m super curious as a former USA Swimming athlete and current coach. Oh, I also was on a Junior National team, never read that rule in my code of c

    • Nissen Troy

      Julie Tellier interesting… As a former USA Swimming athlete, not to mention a National Junior Team alum, don’t remember any rules that waived my 1st amendment right when I represented the USA…
      We know that Lochte cleary violated USAS codes of conduct, can you tell me how Tony did with this kneel?

    • Nissen Troy

      Jim Deitrick just to be clear what reply of yours I am replying to now:

      “Nissen Troy There are plenty of media outlets and government leaders who aren’t sure what kneeling has morphed into. We know how it started… but junior and senior high kids do it for many different reasons.. some say it looks “cool”. Sad.”

      So, firstly, what ‘media outlets’ or ‘government leaders’ are you talking about? This conversation has been going on for much longer than you imply. By pretending you and these so-called ‘media outlets’ and ‘government leaders’ don’t know what the kneeling are pertaining to you are discrediting your original argument.

      By your statement, “We know how it started…” you clearly know what we are talking about- why did you claim that people don’t know why Tony would kneel???

      And what with the comment about high school and middle school athletes kneeling without knowing why they are doing it? Can you PLEASE expand on that one? Because A) we know that high school/middle school KIDS take a lot of things they see and copy…
      BUT, this is a pretty clear cut case- they’re not copying a rapper sagging their pants for whatever reason, they’re copying an athlete who is protesting racial injustice-
      Also, what ‘empirical’ (to use your own words/worries) evidence do you have on high school and middle school students kneeling only because “they think it’s cool…”?? Can you show me that? And do you realize these kids probably know how to use the internet very well which means they most definitely know what the kneeling is about?

    • Khanh Nguyen

      I expect dumb kkklan inbreds to stfu

    • Neil Stapley

      I expect you to return your copy of the pocket constitution because you seem to not really understand the meaning of the first ammendment

  18. avatar

    HOW come all the HAS beens want to start….I pray they kick him off the team..not that he deservers to be there anyway…….this is going to have bad bad blood towards the sport…

    • avatar

      What I hope is that some former or current world class black American swimmers ( gold medalists ) will take some time to weigh in. Share their experiences or those of family members with these situations or what they are taught about going out in the world. Maybe some of you should try and contact Mr. Ervin and ask him for more details about his protest and his experiences.

  19. Chad Bloom

    Bounce this clown from TEAM USA.

    • Nissen Troy

      Hey nice hunting gear, you totally don’t lool like a stereotypical white idiot from the midwest, so I won’t assume that about you based on your skin color and choice of clothes- oh wait, could that be part of the issue that Tony is referererring to with his peaceful protest? Oh, it is? Oh, it makes you uncomfortable?

    • Scott Leindecker

      Peaceful protest, great swimmer, good person.

    • Chad Bloom

      Protest peacefully while not swimming for Team USA. Never met the guy…dont care if he is a prince of a guy. Stand for the anthem of the country that provides you more freedoms than ANY place else in the world. He can F off.

  20. Nissen Troy

    YES TONY!!! Keep on my man!

  21. Darnell James

    At some point certain white people are going to have to get the message. To those that do get the point thank you for your TRUE showing of patriotism.

    • Scott Allen

      What message? That you need safe spaces? Grow up

    • Darnell James

      Scott Allen or that systematic oppression effects people and there are racial injustices that people experience daily in our society. While you may not be racist, you’re basically saying you’re ok with it and that makes you part of the problem.

  22. Michael J MacLean

    He probably made the water stink because of this scumbags action he shoulnt be allowed in any pool again he stinks

    • Nissen Troy

      You look pretty old and white, I’m guessing you probably actually stink like 24/7! (That’s what disrespect looks like by the way, not what Tony chose to peacefully do).

    • Michael J MacLean

      Nissen Troy you shoul know what stink is like i should be able to smell you hereup yor ass scumbag

    • avatar

      Michael, I am sorry to see that you are widowed. Has the event made you cantankerous also? Can you add some sort of intelligent commentary? Or are you just full of insults that elementary school kids could put down easily? Are you Canadian? Does that make you an expert on American issues?

  23. Paula Anne

    Bumper sticker activism. #firstworldproblems.

  24. Li Da

    He is an embarrassment to his country and his sport!

    • Debi Skarecky-Hill

      No he’s not! My husband served this country for 20 years to guarantee the freedom that allows him to peacefully protest! There is NOTHING embarrassing about protesting for equality and to fight against racism…nothing!

  25. Russ Smith

    I have s Masters meet on Veterans Day, in Oklahoma. I dare you to try that here.

    • J.d. Garza

      Why don’t you do it, if you want someone to do it so badly lol

    • Russ Smith

      I served as a Marine for three years and Army for 23. What have you or any of these brats done for their community, state, or nation? Not a damn thing.

  26. Donald P. Spellman

    When is it okay to engage in peaceful protests again? Just checking.

  27. Kiri Rao

    Oh my god I love this man. He was amazing to meet and hear speak. And he is kneeling for the injustice people face due to the color of their skin Jacob Masters

  28. Nick Wilker

    He should be cut from the national team

  29. Tracey Richards Chiulli

    Not cool. Don’t represent my country if you can’t stand for our anthem ?

  30. Peter Paul Reich


    Million other places to protest!!

    No longer an idol of mine!!

  31. Adriana Jahna

    So now we are going to have all people that don’t agree with what is going on to kneel fo our national anthem? I guess it is ok to disrespect everyone’s national anthem you don’t agree to. Is has become very sad because our national anthem represents our country in so many ways. There are ways to protest and get your message across without disrespecting our flag and our country. I agree that everyone has a right to protest and that we do not have a perfect country but we do have one amazing place to call home???????? It is being torn apart from within… all this kneeling is not solving any problems.. just creating more.

  32. avatar

    Hello All,
    We are all entitled to our own opinions on this matter. I for one am very much against anyone who lives in the United States of America to kneel, sit or not take off their hat during the National Anthem or when a flag is being flown in the air for our freedom. Many of our athletes do not know the history of our flag and how our freedom was given to us. Many men and women fought for those freedoms you were given. For anyone to not stand for those rights is wrong. You may feel that because of your race, religion, color etc. gives you the right to protest against the flag and anthem that gave you those freedoms is very wrong! If you believe you have been wronged because of anything someone or something has done against you, you should do a peaceful protest that is organized as the freedom you were given by that flag and the men and women who fought for you to be able to do that. Many of my family members were and are in the military and law enforcement. My son right now is fighting in Afghanistan for your freedom. He is also a deputy Sheriff that protects you when you are sleeping. Ask yourself this question? If we did not have the military or law enforcement to protect you what would you do at swim meets, NFL games, Baseball games, basketball games etc. Do you think you would feel safe? Do you think there would be any organization to leaving the parking garage. Do you think the Coaches would feel safe leaving the field? Would you feel safe if the person next to you team lost and starting fighting with others? Would you feel safe in your neighborhood knowing there is no one to save you if your house was being broken into? Would you feel safe that know one was watching over the prisoners that beat, rape, molest, murder, etc. These are things all should think about without the military, police, fire, hospitals, emergency personal. So for you to kneel or sit during the national anthem and when a flag of freedom is being flown because you feel you are not getting treated equal think about what this world would be like without the GOD given freedoms you have and STAND UP for them and thank emergency personal and the military who gave you those rights and quick protesting them for giving you those freedoms! Take your protest to the people that can help you with your issues! But don’t bring them to sports that have nothing to do with it. In the long run it will hurt you just like the NFL is getting very hurt by this. If you bring it to swimming, I as a coach for USA Swimming will not put up with it. I have every race and color on my team and they are all treated with the utmost respect and equal. Go back to your history lessons and learn something!

  33. Denise Richard Plant

    He may be kneeling, but his hand is over his heart. Can it be that he is showing his respect for the nation while acknowledging a problem?

  34. Steve Haebig

    As a Veteran, is it too much to ask? 90 seconds as they say “to honor America” our country has far too many positives for this to become routine. It’s your right to protest. But is this honorable? I’m sad for the children being taught this instead of action outside of sports.

    • Peter Paul Reich

      Thank you for your service!!

      I have family currently serving this country- in the Army and this nonsense of disrespecting our country and the flag is to much.

      It is pure ignorance and poor upbringing in my opinion.

      There are so many other ways to protest- but that would take effort. And these people are looking for the easy way out. Lazy and unmotivated bunch of followers.

  35. Robert Palmese

    Where has FINA approved clown shoes for competition?

  36. Stephen Magee

    I guess swimmers aren’t smarter than other athletes.

  37. J.d. Garza

    @Nissen Troy is the real mvp of this thread

  38. Lynette Besonday-Washburn

    No matter how good of a swimmer you are if you can’t respect the country you swim/compete with than you should be removed from the team.

  39. Bill Backes

    Who cares. Swimmers aren’t even serious athletes ?

    • Ross Knowles

      Obviously you never swam competitively. Good tell Michael Phelps that.

  40. Claire Forrest

    Swimming is one of the least racially-diverse sports, with the history of racial segregation in swimming pools going back decades, the astoundingly high drowning rate of African Americans who cannot access swimming lessons, and the fact that the first woman to win a gold medal in an individual Olympic swimming event (Simone Manuel) didn’t happen until last year. I see no problem with Ervin making this statement about police brutality towards marginalized communities since our own swimming community has a lot to reflect on and improve upon when it comes to racial equality in our sport.

  41. Eric Valley

    Way to be, Tony! THANK YOU!!!!

  42. Inge Warnes Clark

    So disappointed in you Mr. Ervin. You (are supposed to) represent our country, and that includes every American. While you are entitled to your thoughts and opinions, singling out one DIVISIVE cause while donning USOC gear is insubordination. Remember, swimming is your JOB!

  43. avatar

    Why is this an issue? Don’t we all have freedom of speech? Look at the first amendment. Is there anything wrong with kneeling for the anthem? I don’t put my hand over my heart, is there anything wrong with that?

  44. Thomas Inwood

    Another useless bag of protoplasm.

  45. Ross Knowles

    Aaaaaa…..if you did that you are done!!

  46. Daphne Rae

    Hand over heart quietly making a statement he thinks is important. I am not offended. I am very offended by hateful words, threats against others, limitations of freedoms, violence and division. His gesture was quiet and peaceful. It is far superior to other forms of political protest.

  47. Peter Paul Reich

    100 % in support. Is that right??

    Well how would you feel if our soldiers all took a knee instead of risking their lives for disrespectful citizens like Mr Irvine.

  48. Peter Scott

    A world where some people think respecting flags and anthems is more important than respecting the rights of humans. Reminds me of medieval times when protecting the flag in battle was so important. Humans are strange creatures aren’t they?

  49. Barbara Jeanne

    I’m so tired of many of you white people stating incorrectly that these people of color are denigrating our flag. We whites have never experienced systemic racial injustice and inequality in our lives like American people of color have endured nonstop for generations. Stop spouting your white privilege for once, as it makes you look quite ignorant, prejudice, uncaring and uninformed. It’s time for you to listen to why exactly they are protesting and put yourself in their shoes for once in your life! Anthony Irwin and all the black football players take a knee to protest these injustices that American people of color suffer and have been suffering for generations in our country. They are NOT disrespecting our flag or being unpatriotic at all. They are simply exercising their first amendment right to peacefully protest to bring awareness to their plight and to try to affect change. That is being patriotic and we whites who sit by and do nothing to stop this systemic racial injustice are complicit in it happening and continuing. PLEASE BE QUIET until you thoroughly educate yourself about racial injustice in our country, and think how you’d feel if you were treated so poorly just because of the color of your skin! Time to throw that white privilege right out the door for the good of all Americans!

  50. Robbie Spears

    He didn’t get where he is without his Country’s support!! Grandstanding!!! He has no idea! Have you seen the ME TOO movement? Do you see these women, who for years have put up with crap, ever disrespect the flag in front of the world? No!! Now who’s got balls??!!

  51. Peter Scott

    Seems there are more people find this offensive than the killings and abuse in the world. Humans are strange creatures aren’t they?

    • Sona Balian Lukasik

      Peter Scott, I don’t know when taking a knee became a symbol of being offended at “killings and abuse in the world”. It is a commentary on perceived social injustice in the U.S. I reject the gesture primarily because I feel that these athletes are using the wrong time and place to promote their personal views. The competitive sports event is a “job” for an athlete. Most of us are governed by work place rules in which the employer sets some limits on how we demonstrate our personal beliefs in that shared environment. While I am free to protest and express my views how I see fit, on my OWN time, I may not use the workplace as a platform to be disruptive or potentially offensive. Much better these fine athletes use their PERSONAL time to constructively engage in activities which meaningfully promote the change they claim to seek.

    • Peter Scott

      Well I don’t know if it was when he was employed or not. It is up to his or anyones employer to decide whether they agree. However, my point is that to the outside world americans show more abuse and interest in this than for example the latest gun outrages. I still think humans are very strange. Any aliens out there would be best advised to stay well of so called ‘civilisation’

    • Peter Scott

      Also the protest is not necessarily costing any money unlike the walk out protest of Mike Pence and his wife costing as reported about $250,000 for the plane to carry out the stunt all admitted it was planned by master trouble maker Trump himself

  52. Brittney Popelier

    Some of you need to brush up on your flag code. Please site where it states you must stand during the national anthem. Do you stand when you hear it on TV? No. You sit you ass down chomping down on wings and drinking beer. Some of you DO disrespect the flag code by: wearing garments with the flag printed on them, hanging flags against walls when it is supposed to stand free, etc. #themoreyouknow

  53. Lynette Timmons

    Hey Swimming World. You are not a political organization. Please don’t promote anyone’s political agenda. That is not your purpose.

    We are a family of athletes. I stand and pray during the National Anthem. I pray thanks that Our troops put their lives on the line so people like my family can do frivolous things like run around a golf course for cross country or swim in circles.

    Sports are luxury. A luxury we have because of our country. Athletes should not take advantage of their stage. And we shouldn’t give them the time of day.

    Their agenda should be on their own time.

    Now just promote and report swimming in the pure spirit of swimming.

  54. Andy Seibt

    I just lost ALL respect for him, that I figured he had earned over these past years and the big comeback…I should have known better when I saw all those stupid ass tattoos…
    What a crap head …!!!
    I’m so tired of all these fake racists ….

  55. Brooke Lee

    So now what? Any other plans othering than kneeling?

    • Mark Ascencio

      Agree Brooke. I am so tired of these over priced atletes kneeling. What is their plan?

  56. Rebecca Landre

    What is this leading to? Is there a next step?

  57. Madison Newell

    Why the National Anthem? I’m genuinely asking. Between being shot at and bombs going off our soldiers overseas get to watch the “Armed Forces Network” which shows a lot of American sports. I can’t imagine being away from my family, knowing I might not return, making 30k a year, and then seeing these millionaire athletes using that 2 minutes (when there’s 10,000 more in a week) to protest something that has nothing to do with our flag. I would be heartbroken

  58. Ana Lenac Chien

    And where is the place people…. to show how he feels about racial inequality and police brutality. That is what the kneeling is about people! Wake up already!! No one is disrespecting the country nor the flag nor the anthem. If anything all these athletes have probably more respect for this country and the flag than a lot of you. The blood, tears and sweat that they drop for this country to be represented in the world. They can all play in a team with different skin color and that is what they are showing you. This is the place for them to spread the message. Not in their living room so no one can see. I am so tired of all you people playing the same tune and not realizing what this is about. Oh I guess you can’t because you are not colored! And that is why there is a problem in a first place. Wow!