Our Sporting Heroines (and Heroes)

by Miroslav Imbrisevic


Watching the Tokyo Olympics made me think about what we want from our sporting heroines (and heroes). What can we expect from them, and can we make demands on them?

Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz called the Olympic champion Simone Biles a “national embarrassment” after she withdrew from competing for mental health reasons. Reitz attached a video of gymnast Kerri Strug from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to his tweet. There, Strug performed her final vault with an injured ankle. This act of self-sacrifice gave the US team gold. Reitz tweeted: “Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles.”

Reitz quickly apologized, but many in the right-wing media agreed with him. Amber Athey wrote: “Simone Biles is a quitter,” and she also called her “selfish.” Athey complained that as a result of Biles’ actions the US came second to Russia. Britain’s own Piers Morgan tweeted: “Are ‘mental health issues’ now the go-to excuse for any poor performance in elite sport? What a joke. Just admit you did badly, made mistakes, and will strive to do better next time. Kids need strong role models not this nonsense.”

Reitz, being an Attorney General, serves the people. He seems to think that athletes do the same. But are athletes little soldiers without weapons, serving their country to make sure that their nation comes out on top? Is sport “war minus the shooting” as George Orwell described it in 1945?

Both Reitz and Athey exhibit a distorted understanding of patriotism. In times of war, many soldiers willingly sacrifice themselves because they love their country. And sometimes they are sacrificed by the political elite in pointless wars. But in Tokyo we are not at war. Let’s keep in mind that prior to and during the ancient Olympics, all warlike action had to stop. Athletes compete against each other, and in individual events often against their own compatriots. The sensible athlete wants to beat his or her competitor, and not a particular country.

People like Reitz and Athey have a parasitic relationship to sporting success. They thrive on the achievement of “their” team and feel as if they had a hand in that achievement. But all they did was cheer, and they share the same passport. They are under the false impression that the glory of Olympians like Biles will rub off on them.

Is Simone Biles a quitter? The idea that you have to play through pain and injury (e.g., concussion in American Football) is based on a male ethos (war again?). Men are not allowed to show vulnerability. And it is instructive that recently, female athletes (Naomi Osaka) choose to prioritise their mental health and well-being over such an ethos.

Male sporting heroes rarely admit to struggling with the pressures of competing. An exception seems to be the sport of cricket. As I write, the English cricketer Ben Stokes announced that he would take an indefinite break from cricket to “prioritize mental wellbeing.”

Self-described “patriots” like Reitz think that Biles let their country down; that she is selfish. But they ignore the immense pressure the public puts on sporting greats. After all, our athletes are mortals, not gods. Biles said: “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times.” This is where the mental health issues come into play. It isn’t easy to cope with the constant pressure to succeed. The swimmer and four-time Olympian Michael Phelps suffered from depression during his career. When he heard about Simone Biles’ reasons for withdrawing, he said: “It broke my heart.”

Furthermore, in sports where there is the danger of serious injury (e.g., sports with aerial elements like BMX), your mental fitness is paramount. Biles mentioned “the twisties”: a mental block which makes you lose your spatial awareness when mid-air. It is actually selfish of Biles’ critics to demand that she continue to perform, even though she is in danger of serious injury. There is no need to sacrifice her welfare so that Reitz & Co. can bathe in her glory. And let’s not forget, she has not enlisted in the military.

Lastly, these faux patriots seem to have forgotten about the sexual abuse of underage gymnasts who were in the care of Larry Nassar, the disgraced Team USA physician. They were badly let down by USA Gymnastics. Biles decided to come back for another Olympics, at the age of 24, to hold people to account: “If there weren’t a remaining survivor in the sport, they would’ve just brushed it to the side.” Speaking out about these issues and, at the same time, continuing to compete takes courage, but inevitably it will have taken its toll on the mental well-being of Biles.

So no, Simone Biles is not a quitter. She is a sporting heroine for facing up to her vulnerabilities and for speaking up for the survivors of sexual abuse. Athletes are not little soldiers serving their country. They have a right to put their own welfare over the thirst for vicarious glory by people like Reitz & Co.


48 responses to “Our Sporting Heroines (and Heroes)”

  1. Bob Scott Placier

    Hear, hear!

  2. I very much agree with this post.

  3. Azin

    What one would expect from the Trumpish backwater of a guns and Bible state called Texas. Always at the forefront of regressive, reactionary thought and policy.

    The Olympics should represent the excellence of the athletic ability and effort of the individual human anatomy and not a pissising contest between nations that differ in size, resources and recruitment regimens.

  4. While I agree that the quoted remarks by Reitz, Athey, and Morgan are outrageous and absurd, I do wonder about the current zeitgeist. Certainly, if Biles was concerned about serious injury, due to “the twisties,” as described in the piece, than she was wise to pull out. I don’t see why this has anything to do with Osaka, however, who pulled out because she refused to do press conferences on the grounds of “mental health.” Of course, press conferences are part of what one signs up for, when one decides to become a professional tennis player and play in famous, legendary tournaments, which make one a millionaire many times over.

    I have suffered full blown panic attacks in the middle of lectures. I went through a period where this happened almost every time I taught. I did not refuse to teach. I soldiered through. It was unpleasant, but no one was injured or died, and my students had registered and paid for the course and had a perfect right to expect me to teach it, barring something much more serious.

    Certainly, there are times when mental health is a reason to pull out of something to which one has made a commitment, and I can imagine myself doing so, under certain circumstances. But I also think the mental health card is being overused and that the lionization of those doing it is not just a little bit disingenuous, but also a bad idea, zeitgeist-wise.

  5. You mean the second largest state in the country? Hardly a “backwater.” And progressive states can have assholes in government too. [See New York’s Andrew Cuomo, who did much worse than say ridiculous things.]

    Also, the idea that the Olympics has nothing to do with representing countries seems to represent a fundamental misunderstanding of what the thing is.

  6. Dan, I wonder if it is more than just the Zeitgeist? I walked to school and back from the age of 6, half an hour each way, and I had to cross an area where the kids would try to jump me and my brother on our return from school. They frightened the hell out of us, chasing us and threatening us, but they never did anything. They just enjoyed seeing us run like rabits. Here in Britain most kids are accompanied/driven to school by their parents.

    Later, from the age of 9-14, we (the neighborhood kids) played football (i.e. soccer) all through the summer from 8 in the morning till dark – no supervision. Of course we also did all kinds of silly and potentially dangerous things.

    A couple of years ago, I was surprised to read that mental health problems among university students in the UK were on the rise. As kids, we did not live in a cocoon. I’m sure this fostered a certain degree of resilience in us. I wonder if this is missing in today’s generation. And perhaps this explains the rise in mental health issues?

  7. Yes, I think this is right.

  8. s. wallerstein

    It’s great that you soldiered through your classes, but the Olympic games are watched by hundreds of millions of people, if not billions, worldwide. There is a pressure to perform that is incredible. It just can’t be compared to that of a teacher (I’ve been one myself) in front of, say, 30 students or maybe 50, half of which aren’t paying attention anyway.

    She just couldn’t take it. Give the kid a break!!

  9. Azin

    Don’t be so persnickety, you know exactly what I mean. And the Texas Republicans do represent a backwater to everything liberal. regardless of competency or character. (I’ve never been a fan of Cuomo)

    I of course understand the international competitiveness of the Olympics and it’s fun to root for the home team, but it has become a farce on so many levels. Sorry, I watch for the excellence and the ability, not for the ringers, political braggadocio or doping.

  10. Azin

    The coddling of America.

  11. How have I not “given her a break”?

  12. s. wallerstein

    Among other things, you put “mental health” between quotation marks above.

    Neither you or I have any idea what is going on in this young woman’s head. People are dumping on her. Does she need one more person to question if she “really” has mental health issues?

  13. That was about Osaka, not Biles.

  14. Well, we watch for different reasons then. And it hasn’t been about “ability” since the Olympics became flooded with professional athletes.

  15. Ha! I admit I always want the Russians and Chinese to lose.

    Seems like we also disagree about pros competing. I want to see the best perform against each other and not at the expense of keeping someone from making a living. And this certainly doesn’t negate pushing the limits of effort.

  16. the entire point of the Olympics was that it consisted of amateurs athletes. if you want to abolish it and just have pro-sports, that’s fine. what isn’t is mixing the two.

  17. I see the rationale and validity of both points of view. It’s a judgement call based upon the desired intent.

    Pro or amateur, these athletes have pushed themselves to be the best and sweated equally. I see nothing inherently wrong or unfair if that is what has been decreed. It is certainly what the people wanted and puts butts in the seats and eyes on the screen. East bloc countries just skirted around the issue anyway.

  18. So, let’s see.

    At 15 years old, Chris Evert defeated Margaret Court, the number 1 player in the world. Must have been stressful!

    Tracy Austin defeats both Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at the age of 16 in the US Open. Must have been stressful!

    Monica Seles won the French Open at 16. Must have been extremely stressful!

    All did press, as professional sports require. None retired due to nerves or any other mental health issues.

    Certainly, there are people not cut out for elite level competition. They should not be shamed or harassed. But I don’t see why they should be valorized either.

  19. Yep, we disagree entirely on this. I think the Olympics has lost everything about it that was once distinctive and mattered. Just a money grab at this point. Haven’t had much interest in it since the US defeated the Russian hockey team in 1980.

  20. s. wallerstein

    You don’t valorize them. I valorize them. We have different values. I don’t particularly valorize the winners or the champions, because, as I’ve explained previously in this blog, I don’t care at all about sports.

    I’m sure in general we valorize different people for different reasons. Probably sometimes we coincide and valorize the same people too.

  21. The point is beginning to escape me. The fact is that Osaka and Biles *are* currently being valorized, and I’ve tried to explain why I think it’s a mistake. That you don’t care about sports seems not particularly relevant in a discussion about elite professional athletes.

  22. s. wallerstein

    It’s strange since you’re the philosopher who has insisted in previous conversations that there are no objective values, that our values stem from our personal lived experiences. Given my personal lived experience, I valorize Biles more than I do Chris Evert, whom you mention above. Your personal lived experience is different than mine and you don’t valorize Biles. I recall Leiter asking some years ago for a list of figures from the 20th century United States whom one admires. No names from your list appeared on mine and no names from my list appeared in yours.

  23. Again, I don’t understand the relevance of this to the discussion at hand. But fine, just forget it.

  24. And if you don’t care about sports, I can’t see why you’d valorize Biles over Evert or anyone else. Seems like you just want to argue for the sake of it

  25. s. wallerstein

    Although you seem to want to disqualify me by claiming I argue for the sake of arguing, I’ll try to explain.

    I don’t watch the Olympic games or follow them in the news. In fact, I don’t even own a TV set.

    I had no idea who Biles was, but at one point her name emerged from the sports news to the general news and she caught my attention. Her case took up more and more space in the general news, especially as some people started to criticize her, to put her down.

    For a lot of reasons, I took her side. One big reason was that the people putting her down were the kind of people I dislike, for political and cultural reasons. I looked at her picture and I liked her, as simple as that.

    This afternoon I read Mr. Imbrisevic’s post above, and it moved me, especially the final paragraph. I don’t think that one has to be a sports fan to see the point of Mr. Imbrisevic’s post and to agree with it.

    That’s all.

  26. Then I I have no idea what we are arguing about. I will drop it.

  27. Christopher Willingham

    “What one would expect from the Trumpish backwater of a guns and Bible state called Texas. Always at the forefront of regressive, reactionary thought and policy.”

    That’s a slur, not an argument, which suggests to me that you’re not interested in a dialogical analysis, only in the righteous display of a kind of casuistic incontinence.

    I submit you may be suffering from what Orwell called “negative nationalism,” a reflexive tendency to act as if one’s country and comrades are morally reprehensible, often without firm justification. The Swedish sociologist Goran Adamson has recently extended Orwell’s conception in his discussion of “masochistic nationalism,” in which a virtue-signalling repudiation of one’s nation is concomitant with the romanticizing of another: “Everything native must be criticised and everything exotic must be hailed.” Since your comment is effectively a geographical cut across class and culture, this seems plausible. While you made no overt mention of it, the possibility of race being a factor here is also concerning. For someone so rancorously troubled by Trump– as was I– you seem to have gamely followed his divisive example.

    Simone Biles has every right to withdraw if she feels her health is compromised. It may even be sensible for her to bow out now to compete more effectively for her team later. However, it IS conspicuous in light of the narcissism and self-indulgent demands of Gen Z, as well as the racially-strategic deployment of terms such as “fragility” in the general culture, and the fashionable dismantling of expectations and standards of performance to make such a decision at this time. It may not prove to be the case, but it is perfectly reasonable to consider Biles’ decision in this framework. And while it may be a post hoc artifact of the outrage economy, CNN just published a story about elite black female athletes taking mental health breaks from competition entitled: “All the Black Women in Us Are Tired.” This is probably just a shameless grab at our attention, and a reminder of our unexpungeable guilt, but it is also a motte-and-bailey move: “They’re practicing good self-care!” (They don’t have to meet your expectations.)

    Whatever the case, this tribal siloing needs to stop. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, these are people. They are family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and countrymen. There are no conditions under which dismissing and shitting on a significant portion of any population on the basis of their immutable characteristics, heterodox beliefs, or spatial coordinates ends well. If we don’t find common cause, we will suffer an unpleasant common fate.


  28. This is very well put, and especially the fourth paragraph. How striking — and depressing — that quote from CNN is.

  29. I think there is also some psychological phenomenon at play in your examples. They are all young – not plagued by nerves or self-doubt. This comes later, once you’re successfull. Some cope well, others don’t. But in the past people kept their mental health problems a secret, because of the stigma. So we don’t know how many top athletes really struggled in the past.

    I applaud that we don’t look down on people anymore (at least not as much as we used to) who admit to mental health problems. Dan’s worry is that it might become fashionable or a badge of honour.

  30. I only mentioned them because a lot of the people lionizing Biles and Osaka are doing it partially on the grounds of how young they are.

  31. Kanthelpmyself

    It’s easy, but unfair, to apply the generalized deficits of Millennials against the 24-year old Biles. Her life reflects virtues that are largely the opposite of such characteristics. Consider the lifelong ambition, effort, sacrifice, and pain she has endured just to reach the Olympics at 24 in an event in which peak age is the middle teens. She’s hardly coddled herself.

    Biles’s use of the term “mental health” as the reason for her withdrawal was unfortunate if it was meant to embrace the “twisties,” a condition recognized among gymnasts for creating an inability to orient oneself in the air, and apparently related to focal dystonia. With the “twisties, the difficulty and sheer altitude of Biles’s double pike vault could easily have resulted in her landing on her head, neck, or back, leaving her permanently impaired, if not dead.

    The comparison with Kerri Strug’s heroic effort is thus inapt. Strug may have risked aggravating the injury to her ankle, but that was regarded as threatening the quality of her performance—she was confident she could complete the vault—not her life and limb.

    Since the Olympics were first broadcast, the mass media has transformed competition among athletes to competition among countries for the purpose of generating greater national interest, better ratings, and greater beer-ad revenues. No one, however, is in a position to second-guess an athlete’s assessment of unforeseen issues regarding her condition in the moment, and the risks they pose.

    Finally, consider the personal disappointment Biles suffered in having to withdraw from the vault, in which her achievements have already exceeded any human in history.

  32. I really have no issue with Biles. I said flat out that I thought it wise that she withdrew. I was speaking of Osaka and of the public discourse around the two.

    If Biles thought going on was unsafe — as she did — she was right to pull out.

  33. Azin

    Yeah, and in conjunction with what Kanathelpmyself said, I think it’s unfair to compare the pressures and consequences of tennis with the more precision dependent sport of gymnastics.

  34. Rageforthemachine

    The comments by the politicians pretty much represent a kind of performance that all ideological representatives have to go through these days. The zeitgeist today is that we are pretty much two irreconcilable countries and each side needs to bolster their side as having the correct kind of values to create a strong, successful society with strong, successful people.

    I do think it is interesting that we have kind of a cognitive dissonance about the Larry Nassar situation. Women’s Gymnastics has risen steadily since the 70’s to become probably the most popular Olympic sport. Young girls like Cathy, Nadia, and Olga captured the worlds hearts. In America we anoint the team America’s Sweethearts every 4 years. I don’t think we have to come to grips with the fact that we may have to go back quite aways now to find a team where we can’t say “all those girls have been sexually molested”.

    The question of how much we can expect from athletes is an issue not simply limited to young girls. In some of our most macho sports questions are starting to be raised about how much is too much. Whether he was accurate or not Lyle Alzado blamed his brain cancer on his steroid use. When asked if he would do it again he said “give up my life at 41, are you kidding?” Listen to some of his ex-teammates like Marcellus Wiley talk about the suicide of his friend Junior Seau and how things need to change in Football. Grossly underreported too because it isn’t considered “a sport”, but the incredible death rate in professional wrestling probably would have instigated congressional hearings if it were any other profession.

  35. Pavo Drovenge

    Yes. If Biles thought her life was in danger (and it sounds like it was) she had every right to pull out. I would even commend her on her prudence in doing so. The concern I think Dan is expressing is something along the lines of fragile younglings using Biles as an excuse to bail on their daily responsibilities. “Simone Biles took a mental health break so I’m not going to feel bad for calling off work today for my own mental health.” – Maybe not that clear but I think there’s certainly some number of people who are thinking exactly this way.

    What the people lionizing Biles and demonizing her both have in common is that they’re both forgetting that she’s a highly trained athlete participating in a sport where a millimeter-sized mistake could be potentially life-threatening. Her experience here has literally nothing to do with the hardships and inconveniences that any average person faces on a daily basis. Nothing at all.

    I also agree with Dan about Osaka. I have a friend I refuse to go on extended vacations with anymore, in part because he insists on carrying his own bags from the car to the hotel room. His rationale, that he’s healthy and in shape, fails to consider that he’s denying a bellhop a livelihood. By refusing press interviews, Osaka bailed on a pre-existing economic obligation and got painted in glory for it. That bugs me.

  36. Rageforthemachine

    In regards to Osaka, I think I can empathize, but not necessarily understand her position. As someone who has suffered social anxiety since being a teenager I can relate to her not wanted to do

    On the other hand though Osaka can play tennis anywhere, but she chose to become a professional tennis player, and we all know in professional sports there is much more involved than playing the game. Sports has no intrinsic value, it only becomes valuable and noteworthy when millions of people become interested in it and are willing to throw money at it. It used to infuriate me when coaches like Greg Popovich would blow off the media as unimportant when everything he had in life was dependent on them.

    Also the more I learn about Osaka I kind of become less sympathetic. At first I thought this was a young teenager. I didn’t realize she is 23, the worlds #1, a multi-millionaire, and incredibly something of an activist and influencer. In that case it might actually be mush more helpful for her to be completely open about her anxiety and her attempts to treat it as she will become even more of a positive role model for young girls.

  37. I’m afraid I just don’t accept the idea of a professional, elite athlete at that level refusing to do press for “mental health” reasons.

    That doesn’t mean she may not really be incapable of doing pressers. But then perhaps professional sports is not for her? I mean, there are people with crippling stage fright. Those who can’t overcome it don’t play on Broadway. What we don’t do is re-adjust Broadway so that they can. So, I can’t imagine why we would transform professional sports so those with insurmountable performance anxieties can engage in them.

    There are any number of things I am not suited to doing, and I don’t do them. It would never occur to me to expect people to give me special consideration or transform the relevant activity to make it suitable to me.

  38. Azin

    I don’t see why anyone would care, beyond a curiosity, sympathy or topic to kick around, what Osaka or Biles do in their lives or “careers”. If Osaka had professional or legal obligations she is not fulfilling, then she should pay the contractual penalties. In the end it’s about money and not a pure pursuit of the sport. She’ll continue to behave as it suits her and continue to be successful or not depending on the approval or disapproval of the paying public, her sponsors and professional organizations.

    The same for Kapernick. He had the right/choice to give the knee in relationship to his employers constraints his legally protected right of self expression and faced the consequences.

    Whether athletes are morally obliged to live up to the expectations of a role model has become a matter of debate and in itself has potential consequences again, judged mostly by the market place.

  39. To stay with the tennis:
    “THURSDAY: When asked about Simone Biles, Novak Djokovic replied, “Pressure is a privilege. If you are aiming to be at the top of the game, you better start learning how to deal with pressure and how to cope with those moments….”
    SATURDAY: Novak Djokovic loses his cool, throws a racket over five rows of seats, breaks a second racket and throws it into the photographers’ pit, and then withdraws from his bronze medal mixed doubles match, leaving his partner unable to compete for a medal.”

  40. Ira Glazer

    Back in the day, Boris Becker said that there were a number of players who had the talent to be number one, but not all of them wanted it.. Being number one meant constant media attention — even back then — and social commitments. Being number 3 or 4 meant still making a shit load of money at something you were very good at (and had worked your whole life to achieve), without the spotlight being on you. He also said that the fifth set of a tennis match ‘has nothing to do with tennis’; it’s all about psychology.

    I also remember an NBA player (sorry, I forget his name) who said [I paraphrase], ‘When we’re in a huddle designing a play for the last shot, there are guys — including excellent players — who try to hide from the coach;. they don’t want the pressure of having to take the last shot.’

  41. Djokovic is disgusting. Can’t stand him.

  42. Because we care about the sport. I’ve been playing it since 1974.

  43. In ancient Athens, there was no designation for or distinction between amateur and professional athletes. It wasn’t until the modern Olympic Games, which started in 1896, that the distinction was created, influenced by the then British upper class attitude towards sport in general within the posh boarding schools of the time. Purity, stoicism and self sacrifice were the virtues demanded. Competitors could not receive money for their sport at any time in their lives, past or future. This became not only untenable but inconsistently and hypocritically enforced within the first few Olympiads as winners in some of the more aristocratic sports like equestrianism, auto racing and boat racing were awarded cash prizes. Yet Jim Thorpe was stripped of his Olympic medals for having once received a small pittance playing semi-professional baseball in college. Soon over time, most of the athletes who did well were being sponsored by private patrons with free training facilities in lieu of money. In later years, this practice was emulated and enlarged by the Soviet Union as all of their Olympic athletes were entirely sponsored by the state, yet still regarded as “amateur” by the IOC.

    In other words, there was never a time when the Olympics were made up of only ‘pure’ unpaid or unsponsored amateur athletes.

  44. Really not the issue, but I’m not interested in arguing over it.

  45. Azin

    You can come down off of your high horse padnuh, and holster your overly intellectualized and righteous six shooters. So, you would have me embrace to my bosom with Kumbaya the likes of Texas deputy attorney general Aaron Reitz and the other good ole’ boys who for political expediency, decided to publicly humiliate a young black female who has formerly brought nothing but honor to her sport and nation, during her most vulnerable time. And of similar ilk, the other more prominent members of the rogues gallery of Texas elites that you would have me pow-wow with; Gohmert, Cruz, Farenhold and Governor Abbot. The poster boys for climate and science denial, anti LBGQT, voter suppression, advocates of the Wall and immigrant vilification, and rank overt opposition to woman’s reproductive freedom, supporters of the Big Lie cabal, etc..And, all with the certainty that they are doing so with their inerrant understanding of the Cristian God’s intent. Surely a learned, eloquently written person as yourself is aware of these “arguments” or as you would have it ,my shorthand slurs. (Maybe I should have not taken such for granted and spelled them out for yours and other’s edification.)

    You suggest, admirably, that I should approach and address these uncompromising regressive louts with empathy, reason, logic and tolerant demeanor. As they say in Texas El Paso, on that. These are not the Republicans of yore, these are alternate facts and parallel reality, party before country true believers or at best cynical opportunists. They know not the word compromise for fear of not getting elected, alienating the Trump base and missing getting their wings at the Rapture.

    Sure, I would talk to them. I would talk to anyone to try and thrash out misunderstandings and differences in order to reach agreement and compromise. In fact, I don’t disagree in principle and practice with one iota of what you recommend. You, maybe to your surprise have in fact been preaching to the choir. I’m often the one on comment boards who gets pilloried for trying to reach rapprochement between seemingly diametrically opposed philosophies and politics I live by the credo that no one side or ideology has the absolute truth and that our country benefits greatly from exploring both sides of issues, points of view and, acting as a moderating force between the extremes of each. I love my fellow American’s , the richness of the fabric, and trust in the interplay of their collective common sense with the historic norms and soundness of our evolving laws and founding ethos.

    But, Chris, all this agreement we share (trust me we are simpatico) I reserve for more serious discourse and context and my admitted hyperbole was intentional and meant to hit home at those that would not only upturn the apple cart of 300 years of political integrity, shared and understood norms, and the peaceful transfer of power but inflict such unpardonable calumny on a young lady that has more intrinsic understanding of being an American than the conniving bullies that emanate from the great state of Texas. In other words, I was just venting and being my sarcastic and wry self.

    I assume the second half of your comment wasn’t specifically addressed to me. Well said about the “tribal siloing”. But, that is a very complicated subject, socially and psychologically. At least three elements are essential, good will, an open mind and an agreement on what constitutes reality. I’m afraid the latter is inexplicably at bay in the Republican party and an unfortunate number of citizens in the present milieu. If one side refuses to accept science, facts and the election results, we have a problem, Houston.

    To wrap up, and may I be so bold as to offer a corrective or suggestion to your earnest desire to show me or anyone else to the light of consensus and brotherhood. Let the old adage prevail that you can attract more bees with honey and avoid the mantle of hypocrite by actually practicing what you preach instead of launching presumptive volleys of casuistic incontinence (I did like that one), and Orwellian “national negativism”. I never knew I was so classifiably complicated. LOL! And race? Mon dieu! You know not my ethnicity or race. I was always told that circumcision was the cruelest cut of all but I never thought I’d see the sunrise on the day that I would be accused of emulating Trump. Sir, you cut me to the quick.

  46. For those who are members of the APA, there is an interesting discussion thread on “WHAT DO OLYMPIAN ATHLETES ‘REPRESENT’ ? THE CASE OF SIMONE BILES” See here: https://my.apaonline.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer?communitykey=b0857890-4ffb-4013-b865-e70a0503f53b&tab=digestviewer