Tuesday, August 16, 2016
GABBY DOUGLAS AND A NATION OF HATERS
I've often said that while most adults graduate from elementary school, a great deal
of them act as if they're still sitting in the back row of their second-grade class.
I was never more confident of the validity of that statement than I was after observing
the way in which American gymnast Gabby Douglas was treated by millions who
slither their way around the social media cess pool in search of the almighty 'like'
The nation's nastiness started last Tuesday after the United States won the gold
medal in the team competition. During the medal ceremony, Douglas didn't have
her hand placed over her heart as the American flag was raised and the national
anthem played. Twitter went into obsessive overdrive, accusing Douglas of
disrespecting the country and our flag.
You want to berate and bully a 20-year-old girl with viscous Tweets and criticism
because she forgot to place her hand over her heart in the midst of one of the
biggest adrenaline rushes of her life?
People were reacting as if Douglas, a 3-time gold medal winner, disgraced our
country like Bowe Bergdahl, who is awaiting trial for disserting his fellow United
States soldiers during combat in Afghanistan several years ago.
They unleashed more vitriol on Douglas than they did on Edwin Snowden, who
leaked some of the country's most classified information while working for the NSA.
Sadly, most of the haters didn't actually see the medal ceremony to determine for
themselves if Douglas acted "inappropriately". As in most cases, they read about
it on-line or drew their conclusions thanks to a tweet or post by someone else.
Oh, and I forgot the time when they won a gold medal in the Olympics and acted
perfectly and by the book.
Man, I sure don't remember other athletes getting bombarded like Douglas has
when they didn't do the right thing. The words below are courtesy of an article
that appeared on the ABC News web site in February of 2012 explaining the
protocol for the national anthem during sporting events like the Super Bowl.
"As Kelly Clarkson sang the national anthem at a packed Lucas Oil Stadium in
Indianapolis Sunday night, the camera flashed from her face to fans and football
players - many of whom did not have their hands over their hearts. Though New
York Giants Coach Tom Coughlin held his hat there, some of his players - including
Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Martin - appeared to have their arms at their sides."
Wow. Grown men forgot to put their hands over their hearts during the national
anthem? That's unpatriotic and they disrespected the country! Damn, they should
have been stoned to death, right?
Perhaps, the football players didn't feel the wrath Douglas did for her "omission"
because they weren't decorated with gold medals like Douglas has been three times
over. Or maybe, just maybe, Douglas was a far easier target to shoot vicious tweets
at than those football players.
In the 2012 Olympic games in London, Douglas became the first African-American
female to win a gold medal in the all-around competition. Making history at just
16-years-old is a pretty big deal and Douglas capitalized on her accomplishment
with endorsement deals, public appearances, and for better and probably worse,
her own reality television series.
But nobody in this country or on Twitter would be envious of her success would
they? Nope. The great people of the United States would never be jealous of
someone blessed with so much and talent achieving more in their first 16-years
of life than most people ever do during their time on this planet. No, way!
What did I say again about adults acting liking they're still sitting in the back row
of their second grade class?
Elementary school was still in session on Twitter as people were attacking Douglas
about everything from her hair, facial expressions, and body language. They didn't
think acted "happy" enough when some of her other teammates were having success.
I often wonder what is really going through the minds of people who take the time
to go on Twitter and post viscous comments about someone they don't even know
as they hide behind an avatar or some clever and crafty twitter handle.
Does it make them feel better about their lives which clearly contains a lot
of misery? Grown men and women taking shots at a 20-year-old kid?
Gabby Douglas is a world-class athlete who has represented this country admirably.
With the world watching, Douglas never embarrassed herself, family, or team.
She didn't get caught using PED's or wind up on the police blotter. Yet, when
Douglas doesn't put her hand over her heart or act how the social media maggots
want her to, she becomes the worst people on the planet.
These are the same people who give Jose Reyes of the New York Mets a standing
ovation after he returns to the team after serving a long suspension for beating the hell
out of his wife.
These are the same critics who give Nelson Cruz, then of the Texas Rangers,
a standing ovation after he returns from a 50-game suspension for testing positive
Douglas worked hard, made tremendous sacrifices, and performed incredibly
well under pressure that would cause 99.9 percent of those on Twitter to fold
or crack. She made history in becoming the first African-American female to win
gold in the all-around competition. That can never be taken away from her no
matter what the fools say on Twitter.
But those fools brought Douglas to tears and pretty much ruined her Olympic
experience this year. Like most of us, except for the Twitter scum, Douglas is
human. She has feelings and emotions that can become raw and exposed.
I've heard some people say that Douglas should've ignored social media. That's
funny. Social media seems to have become as important to our lives as breathing.
We can't do without, so don't blame Douglas for doing the same and seeing how ugly
the world truly is.
The critics and so-called experts on Twitter are most likely those who never
got into the arena and competed. They never broke a sweat, endured ridiculous
pain or overcame any obstacles to capture true victory. They are the people
who show up 10 minutes late for church, leave five minutes early, and don't
take 15 seconds to thank a veteran for his service to the country.
Yes, the critics are incredibly perfect.
Anytime an athlete gets into the area to compete, they are signing up for the
possibility of failing. They know there can be heartbreak and tremendous
disappointment. Years of hard work can be flushed down the drain
in a fraction of a second.
Gabby Douglas should be recognized for the incredible world class athlete
she is, not as some kind of unpatriotic villain who in a split second, simply
forgot to put her hand over her heart.
Douglas has the heart the size of California. She earned three golds medals
for the United States which is truly a great accomplishment.
I ask the critics: what have you done for your country?