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As I’ve come to learn, if you want to hear the truth about sports, follow someone who doesn’t cover sports.
On Tuesday, media lightning rod Charlie Kirk blasted Simone Biles far harder than anyone has slammed her before.
“We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles,” Kirk told his listeners after Biles decided to withdraw from the women’s team final over mental health concerns.
“If she’s got all these mental health problems: don’t show up.”
Kirk makes a strong point. Biles showed up when she expected to take gold. She only bowed out because her performance was subpar.
Sportswriters have defended Biles by lazily comparing her to Andrew Luck. If you recall, Luck, the former starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, abruptly retired before the start of the 2019 season after practicing in training camp. Biles didn’t bow out before the start of the season. If we want to go with the Luck comparison, then Biles basically walked out on her team while they were trailing in the Super Bowl.
“She’s an incredible athlete,” Kirk goes on. “Of course, she’s an incredible athlete. I’m not saying that—she’s probably the greatest gymnast of all time. She’s also very selfish, she’s immature and she’s a shame to the country.”
That she is “selfish” and “immature” is undeniable.
Charlie Kirk calls Simone Biles a "selfish sociopath" and a "shame to the country"
"We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles" pic.twitter.com/yDLtblAS35
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 27, 2021
“She’s totally a sociopath,” Kirk added. “What kind of person skips the gold medal match? Who does that? It’s a shame to the nation. You just gave a gift to the Russians.”
Kirk’s commentary earned him another spot atop Twitter’s trending list, where he seems to find himself once a week. Yes, you guessed it: Twitter users called Kirk’s comment racist and misogynistic. That, of course, is a lie. They are attacking him with the usual accusations of racism and sexism because he has made an independent assessment of one of the most protected athletes in the country.
I don’t agree with all of Kirk’s comments on Biles, but his overall takeaway is accurate. Biles is a quitter. She grabbed her get-out-of-jail-free card — mental health — the moment she felt an ounce of self-doubt, a feeling all other great athletes have overcome in their careers. But she is Simone Biles and not someone like Tom Brady, so sports pundits have portrayed her as “brave.”
Luckily, Charlie Kirk doesn’t work under some cowardly sports media executive because he has now spoken more truths about Biles than any ESPN or NBC commentator who is paid to focus on the Olympics.
Update: after widespread criticism, Charlie Kirk said on Wednesday that he stands by his comments:
Just so we’re clear—I stand by every word of this.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) July 28, 2021