Opinion: U.S. Olympic athlete, Mexican flag?
Leo Manzano waved the flag of the U.S. and Mexico after winning second place in the 1500-meters final.
August 10th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Opinion: U.S. Olympic athlete, Mexican flag?

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego (CNN) - Every few years, I reassess how I feel about Mexican-Americans who wave Mexican flags. Much of it has to do with who is doing the waving and under what circumstances.

In 2006, I wrote a column saying it was a bad idea for immigration reform advocates to wave Mexican flags as they marched through U.S. cities such as Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. It's illogical to show your allegiance to one country while demanding accommodation from another.

But in 2007, I penned another column after attending a Luis Miguel concert in Las Vegas where fans of the Mexican singer unfurled Mexican flags. Nothing wrong with that, I concluded.

It's all about context. There is a big difference between a political protest and a concert.

Now, thanks to U.S. Olympic medalist Leo Manzano, and what I consider to be the misguided and ill-mannered way he chose to celebrate his silver medal in the 1500-meters final, I get the chance to think through the subject of flag-waving once again.

After Manzano finished his race and secured his medal, he did what athletes typically do at the Olympics. He held up his country's flag - the Stars and Stripes.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Observer974

    The medal should be returned and this creep stripped of his US citizenship and shipped off to that country he evidently loves so much. There is no place in my country for the likes of Manzano. I want him out.

    August 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cherrie

    Disrespectful. I hope he doesn't receive any endorsements for products that are advertised in the USA. He should have saved Mexican flag waving for when he got back to his community. He's not too proud of America. If he really did he wouldn't have disrespected the USA like that.

    August 12, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rod Trevino

    I think you should be honored for you acheivment instead of being critisized for the flag you wave. Mexican American are very proud of their heritage. I think the whole discussion is bogus. This is still a free country.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bah Humbug

      This was OUTRAGEOUSLY inappropriate. I don't give a @!#% where this guy was from before he came to the United States. He could be the first ethnic Martian competing in the Olympics. It's entirely irrelevant. He went to the olympics on AMERICA'S dime. He trained IN AMERICA, with AMERICAN RESOURCES, on AMERICAN LAND. He was flown to the olympics as part of the AMERICAN TEAM. He is taking up a slot on the American roster that could have gone to someone who thinks enough of his country not to #$@$ all over it on the international stage. Obviously he lives in America now because he or his parents believed and continue to believe that it provides more opportunities for them than does Mexico (that is a 1000000% correct analysis, by the way). The olympics is not about celebrating your ethnic or cultural heritage. It's not even about individual accomplishments. It pits nation against nation in athletic contest. This man was supposed to be competing for the United States. Win or lose, he should be proud to compete for the United States. Not only is what he did morally reprehensible, it is pragmatically confusing. I guarantee you some in attendance were confused as to which country he was actually running for. If he had won the gold, would he wear the mexican flag while they played the Star Spangled Banner? Would he have instructed them to play the mexican national anthem for the man wearing the US uniform? Disgusting.

      August 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WellIfYouAskMe

    How disrespectful! He represents the United States, not Mexico. It appears he broke Federal law.

    "No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." Section 8

    "When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace." Section 8g

    "The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing." Section 8j

    August 11, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. TW

    Talk about divisive visit Mexico. Can you possibly have the temerity to tell me that Mexico is a fun place to go or live ? Why does everyone come to this country? Death,Drugs,Drug Lords in charge !! What a paradise . By the way be an illegal in Mexico tell me what happens Jorge ? Welfare ,free Medical, free education via American Tax payers. I would come here too I would do it the right way not as a thief. You Jorge are a person not proud of this great country. I wish you would shut up or go to that paradise called Mexico.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jorge

    Seeing as the socio/political atmosphere in the U.S. today is so divisive, had I been him, I would have chosen to wave no flag at all.

    August 10, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TW

      Well Jorge why does he not run or what ever he does for Mexico. I'm Italian when I fought for the USA in 1969 I sure did not wave an Italian flag/ My shoulder patch had the red white and blue on it. You are proud of being Mexican that's fine, but if you are going to represent this country leave that stuff in Mexico or represent them !

      August 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jorge

        The Olympic games comprise a series of sports, not political events. They have been politicized from the outsetto an ever increasing degree, first by indolent, sybaritic politicians who have no business benefiting from the fruit of the physical sacrifices of the athletes, and now by the athletes themselves, who have become yes-men to the politicians of their respective countries. Now Madison Avenue types and the media have a say as to how the games are to be run also, the Olympic spirit behind them has been defiled beyond recognition.

        August 13, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |