Saturday, September 19, 2020

Olympic Beach Volleyball Star Kerri Walsh Jennings Apologizes After Backlash over Not Wearing Mask

Olympic beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings has apologized after being attacked for a social media post telling fans that she went shopping without a mask.

Jennings especially raised hackles of COVID scolds in her Sunday post by telling fans that shopping without a mask was “a little exercise in being brave.”

“I had a little exercise in being brave yesterday & I’m still a bit edgy about it. I went shopping without a mask on…” she wrote in her Sunday Instagram post. She went on with a lengthy explanation for why she shed her mask on the shopping trip.

Her post, though, drew a massive backlash as people viciously attacked her for going against masks.

Over the next few days, the pressure built until Tuesday when Jennings returned to Instagram for a mea culpa.

“My goodness, gracious. To those I’ve upset so deeply, I am sorry,” Jennings wrote Tuesday in a post with a photo of a white flag and the word “Truce.”

“To those calling me dumb, selfish, privileged, bigoted, and racist… I fully acknowledge that addressing such an emotional, layered, nuanced, and polarizing topic on social media was not the smartest thing,” she continued.

Jennings added that she was only expressing her idea of maintaining freedom. “FREEDOM IS A RIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR,” she continued.

View this post on Instagram

My goodness gracious. To those I’ve upset so deeply, I am sorry. To those who are open to hearing where I am coming from, I appreciate your openness and civility. To those in agreement, I appreciate you expressing your views. To those calling me dumb, selfish, privileged, bigoted, and racist and telling me that “you are better than this”, I fully acknowledge that addressing such an emotional, layered, nuanced and polarizing topic on social media was not the smartest thing …. pages and pages could be written about every side of everyone’s opinion, yet I went for it because I am alarmed for my country – I am heartbroken for my children – I am devastated for every small business owner who has gone under or who is barely hanging on – I have seen so much conflicting and erroneous data from the experts – and on and on and on – I have researched and I have spoken with experts …. This is why I spoke my point of view. At some point we should all stop and take inventory of everything that has been thrown our way over the past months and the reaction/ to these things. If it sits well or well enough with you, great. If not, great. We should all carry on RESPECTFULLY living our virtues, standing up for our beliefs and doing our best to do no harm in doing so. I was not looking to do anything but express my belief that FREEDOM IS RIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR, and amidst the chaos, divisiveness, fear and undeniable emotion of these times, I believe we have to stay mindful of the FACT that our freedoms have slowly been taken from us with our consent. I feel each of the words I mentioned above (fear/chaos/divisiveness) are being intentionally stoked and we are becoming a country that I do not recognize. The comment section of my last post is a reflection of where we are at and it is …. tragic. I’m not quite sure when we became a world where a differing opinion equates to evil and hatred, but here we are. I am not advocating for people to stop wearing masks. I wear a mask most often. I don’t believe in their efficacy unless it’s of a certain caliber, yet I wear them. I am advocating critical thinking and civility. I am advocating personal responsibility. Cont. below

A post shared by Kerri Walsh Jennings 🌹 (@kerrileewalsh) on Sep 7, 2020 at 11:51am PDT

“I believe we have to stay mindful of the FACT that our freedoms have slowly been taken from us with our consent,” Jennings wrote.

The gold medal winner explained that she is not against mask-wearing for those who wish to do so.

“I am not advocating for people to stop wearing masks. I wear a mask most often. I don’t believe in their efficacy unless it’s of a certain caliber, yet I wear them. I am advocating critical thinking and civility. I am advocating personal responsibility,” she explained.

Despite her apology and explanation, though, the attacks continued.

Her lengthy initial post caused a lot of consternation.

“I read a quote the other day that shook me,” she said in her post on Sunday.

Jennings said that the mask demands made her wonder how she could “mindfully & compassionately stand up for my rights & for the freedoms our constitution has granted us all WITHOUT being reckless or putting anyone else in danger.”

“We are all endlessly complaining about the restrictive & arbitrarily selective rules that we are being strongly ‘suggested’ to follow & yet we are all consenting; Not much of a fight, just a lot of complaining & strongly disagreeing with this manipulation, but we keep consenting,” she noted about everyone’s acquiescence to wearing masks.

“It’s maddening. It has crushed our society, people’s livelihoods, our children’s spirits, & the fabric of our world. We have become a country & a world estranged from each other & it is more deeply unhealthy than any virus could ever be,” Jennings continued.

She said she understood that millions of people had contracted the virus, and many died as a result, but she said that the media had created needless hysteria.

“I would never downplay the impact of a single loss of life. That is it’s own conversation & my heart goes out to all those suffering poor health, the loss of a loved one and the fear that the reaction to & media coverage of COVID-19 has created in your days,” she wrote.

Jennings went on to advise a healthier style of living and even said that a healthy constitution would help usher you through sicknesses such as the coronavirus.

“KNOW your immune system is designed to support you through any illness — we must support our entire system. I want people to stop living in fear and start living in a way that strengthens themselves body, mind, and spirit,” she wrote in the Sunday post that upset so many.

View this post on Instagram

This is going to be a long post & it’s going to upset some people. My intention is NEVER to hurt or disrespect. Please know that. I am working my way through these curious times that have me questioning everything. I am wanting to lead & stand for my beliefs WITHOUT upsetting people but, per usual when one takes a stand, this is unlikely. If this hurts or upsets you, I am sorry. I am working through my thoughts & my way throughout the madness of 2020. I am wanting to be a light, an encourager of the strength + resilience within each of us and I aspire to be someone whom empowers others to take ownership of all sides of their lives. There is freedom & deep satisfaction in living this way. I want this for everyone. Here we go …. I had a little exercise in being brave yesterday & I’m still a bit edgy about it. I went shopping without a mask on 😬😳 & this is why … I read a quote the other day that shook me – – THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO. This statement woke me up & the truth of it has had me obsessing on the matter of how I can mindfully & compassionately stand up for my rights & for the freedoms our constitution has granted us all WITHOUT being reckless or putting anyone else in danger. We are all endlessly complaining about the restrictive & arbitrarily selective rules that we are being strongly “suggested” to follow & yet we are all consenting; Not much of a fight, just a lot of complaining & strongly disagreeing with this manipulation, but we keep consenting. It’s maddening. It has crushed our society, people’s livelihoods, our children’s spirits, & the fabric of our world. We have become a country & a world estranged from each other & it is more deeply unhealthy than any virus could ever be. I know people are getting sick & many have gone to Heaven. I have lived through a lot of loss in my family, in my life. I cherish life. I would never downplay the impact of a single loss of life. That is it’s own conversation & my heart goes out to all those suffering poor health, the loss of a loved one and the fear that the reaction to & media coverage of COVID-19 has created in your days. Cont. in comments ….

A post shared by Kerri Walsh Jennings 🌹 (@kerrileewalsh) on Sep 6, 2020 at 11:35am PDT

Jennings won gold medals in beach volleyball in 2004, 2008, 2012, and a bronze in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

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