Who's Kerri Walsh Jennings? Beach volleyball icon causes stir after refusing to wear mask to a store
Jennings later apologized saying, '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'
The three-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings has come under fire after she revealed that she went to the grocery store without wearing a face mask.
Jennings, 42, took to her Instagram handle to share that she had gone shopping without sporting a face mask and called it "a little exercise in being brave". She had written on the social media platform, "I went shopping without a mask on & this is why, 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," the post read.
It is highly recommended by several public health experts that people use face masks when in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that face coverings are meant to protect other people in case an individual is infected.
Jennings' post was slammed by many social media users who called out her behavior. One such user had written, "can’t believe I used to idolize you. This is the most selfish thing I’ve read yet. So unbelievably hypocritical. Put a fucking mask on and take care of others not just your ‘freedom’. Wow." Another wrote, "Incredibly disappointing that you feel this way. We are in no way losing our freedoms by wearing masks. I would think you would have a better understanding about this being an Olympian." Yet another user commented, "That was NOT an “exercise in being brave !” It was an exercise in being selfish!!! If you really care about others, wear a mask!"
"You are (were) a role model. Shame to see you advocating behavior that harms others, choosing politics over health. Sad," wrote yet another user who echoed the same sentiments. An outraged Instagram user chimed in, "This is the perfect example of white privilege. You do not think that your actions have repercussions. Perhaps you feel that if you were to get the virus you have the finances and will receive the proper healthcare to survive. But the point of wearing a mask is to protect others who are more vulnerable and may not be able to survive the virus. It's called having empathy for others."
Jennings later shared a follow-up post where she apologized and said, "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."
As per data from the John Hopkins University, the United States has seen 6,326,791 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far with around 189,642 deaths.