“I can’t imagine what Simone Biles is going through,” Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz tweeted.
Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz has apologized for calling Simone Biles a “national embarrassment” after she pulled out of the Olympic summer games in Tokyo.
As previously reported, the American gymnastics superstar shocked fans when she withdrew from Wednesday’s team competition to focus on her mental well-being. The following day, she withdrew from the all-around individual competition.
Reitz on Tuesday called out the four-time Olympic gold medalist while retweeting a video of former U.S. Olympian Kerri Strug competing with an injured ankle at the 1996 games in Atlanta, writing, “Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles.”
(Credit: Getty Images and Twitter)
After catching heat for taking aim at Biles, Reitz deleted the tweet and later apologized for his remarks, NBC News reports.
“In a moment of frustration and disappointment, I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed,” Reitz said in a statement Wednesday. “That was an error. I can’t imagine what Simone Biles is going through.”
Reitz went on to call Biles a “true patriot” and one of the “greatest gymnasts” of her generation.
“I apologize to her, and wish her well,” Reitz continued. He walked back his comments hours after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton addressed Reitz’s “very inappropriate tweet” about the beloved athlete.
“I know Simone Biles – she is a fantastic athlete but an even better person,” Paxton tweeted. “Mental health is far more important than any athletic competition and I fully support her decision.”
theGRIO reported earlier that the 24-year-old came to Tokyo as arguably the face of the Games following the retirement of swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. She topped qualifying on Sunday despite piling up mandatory deductions on vault, floor, and beam following shaky dismounts.
She posted on social media on Monday that she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. The weight became too heavy after vaulting during team finals. She lost herself in mid-air and completed 1 1/2 twists instead of 2 1/2. She consulted with U.S. team doctor Marcia Faustin before walking off the field of play.
Despite social media trolls giving Biles hell for seemingly not representing America to their liking at the Olympics, the global superstar said her decision to withdraw from the summer games to focus on her mental health has been met with an outpouring of love and support. On Twitter on Wednesday, she wrote, “the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”
As previously reported, Biles spoke to reporters about her mental health and being inspired by tennis star Naomi Osaka. Explaining how she chose to protect her “body and mind,” the Olympian said, “Whenever you get in a high-stress situation, you kind of freak out … I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being.”
“I felt like it would be better,” Biles continued, “to take a back seat … I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screw-ups.”
*This story contains additional reporting from theGRIO’s Biba Adams and the Associated Press.
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