Athletes on worldwide television are on a hugely visible pedestal.
Some of them don't like that, but that's the way it is.
Basketball players who joke to each other during the national anthem, or choose to sit down and ignore it, get the exact same flak that Wayne Collet got in Munich in '72 when he twirled his medal around his finger on the awards podium and giggled cavalierly during the national anthem.
They should expect it, and not think they can live in a silo with nobody observing how they act.
One thing I don't understand- if you're on the podium with a silver or bronze and somebody ELSE's national anthem is being played, most athletes stand there still and fairly respectful.
But if they're on the TOP of the podium with the gold medal and their OWN national anthem is being played, a few Americans think it's time to cut up and basically disrespect their OWN country's national symbol. Maybe they don't intend to disrespect anything, but the difference in attitude is amazing. It's like "it's MY anthem, so I can do whatever I want"- at least it seems like that's their attitude, as if the anthem was being played for THEM rather for the country that they represent.
Big difference. Other countries don't seem to have this problem.