‘Leftist’ ESPN columnist jeered after claiming US-flag waving at Olympics reminds him of ‘rise of white nationalism’

A veteran sportswriter has come under fire after suggesting that United States flags on display during the opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics were a visual reminder of the alleged surge of white nationalism in the US.

ESPN columnist Ben Rhoden told ‘CBS This Morning’ that the opening ceremony used to be one of his favorite parts of the Olympics, but that this year he felt differently about the event. 

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. Nationalism is not good. We’ve seen the rise of white nationalism.

Extrapolating on his insights, Rhoden said the sports ceremony made him think back to the January 6 Capitol riots, where he “saw a lot of US flags.”

“So now when I see the flag… what America am I living in?” he asked. 

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.”