Kerri Walsh Jennings says she went shopping without mask: ‘A little exercise in being brave’
Three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings began an Instagram post caption with "This going to be a long post & it's going to upset some people."
She was right, especially about the "upset some people" part.
Walsh Jennings wrote how she did not wear a mask while shopping over the weekend, which she referred to as "a little exercise in being brave."
"I read a quote the other day that shook me – – THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO," Walsh Jennings wrote. "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."
More than 188,000 U.S. deaths have been caused by COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The consensus among public health experts is that wearing a mask is a preventive measure amid the coronavirus pandemic. Walsh Jennings said she empathized with those who have lost a loved one, but also wrote "KNOW your immune system is designed to support you through any illness – we must work 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."
Kerri Walsh Jennings (USA) and April Ross (USA) celebrates against Larissa Franca Maestrini (BRA) and Talita Rocha (BRA) during the women's bronze medal match in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Beach Volleyball Arena. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
Walsh Jennings ended her post with a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "I PREFER DANGEROUS FREEDOM TO PEACEFUL SLAVERY."
Fellow beach volleyball player Jennifer Kessy commented, "I can’t believe how selfish this entire post is." Walsh Jennings' own sister, Kelli Mezzetti, said "You are better than this," per the San Jose Mercury News.
The next day, Walsh Jennings offered an apology in a different Instagram post, writing "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."
Walsh Jennings, 42, teamed up with Misty May-Treanor to win gold at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. She and April Ross took home bronze in the 2016 Games. Her current teammate is Brooke Sweat.
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