Craig Barritt/Getty Images for SK-IISimone Biles says she’s more than just a four-time Olympic gold medalist, she is a person who has the right to freely express her own opinions.
The acclaimed gymnast, like many celebrities, reacted in horror when rioters overtook the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.
“Embarrassed but not surprised,” Biles denounced as the events unfolded. “Disgusted but not surprised, sad but not surprised, angry but not surprised, speechless but not surprised.”
The 23-year-old athlete’s commentary, while met with support from fans, drew sharp rebuke from critics who claimed she should focus on her career.
Another professional athlete was met with similar resistance on Twitter, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who, in turn, schooled naysayers about the freedom of speech.
“Stop saying stick to football like that’s our only purpose on this earth,” the 21-year-old NFL player vented. “We (football players) have every right to speak on whatever we feel no matter the situation.”
Biles retweeted his comments and enthusiastically added in her own two cents by writing, “as well as any other athletes !!!!!!!!!!!”
Four people died during Wednesday’s violent protests in Washington, D.C., which drew comparisons from Black Lives Matter supports who say, had they breached the Capitol, the death count could have been much higher.
By Megan Stone
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