Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas earned a gold medal and a load of backlash after Tuesday’s award ceremony for the U.S. women’s team.
Douglas, who was the only one of the “Final Five” women’s gymnastics team to not place a hand over her heart while the national anthem played during the medal ceremony, responded to the controversy she created with a Twitter post stating she “never meant any disrespect.”
— Gabrielle Douglas (@gabrielledoug) August 10, 2016
“First I want to say thank you to everyone for all your support! It’s a huge honor for me to be able to represent #TeamUSA,” Douglas tweeted. “In response to a few tweets I saw tonight, I always stand at attention out of respect for our country whenever the national anthem is played. I never meant any disrespect and apologize if I offended anyone. I’m so overwhelmed at what our team accomplished today and overjoyed that we were able to bring home gold for our country!”
The 20 year-old two-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist did not technically break any rules. There is no statute requiring American athletes to place their hands on their hearts when the national anthem is played.
But many on social media let Douglas have it, blasting her for showing a lack of respect to her country during an event as important as the Olympics when the whole world is watching.
@gabrielledoug There is NO excuse as to why you could not salute the flag of the country that gave you the opportunity to complete #Rio2016
— Angela (@Angipooh) August 10, 2016
— Angela (@Angipooh) August 10, 2016
@RefinedBarb @gabrielledoug She does need to apologize. It’s disrespectful what she did. Why? That’s why America is in bad shape! Take pride
— Gigi Cruz (@mjnovato) August 11, 2016
— Lara (@laraann98) August 10, 2016
There were some comments that Douglas was supporting Black Lives Matter as the medal ceremony coincided with the two-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.
On the Anniversary of Mike Brown’s killing .. She did right. pic.twitter.com/J0ZLwLW3ko
— Yac House P (@PhillyTheBoss) August 10, 2016
Other Twitter users brought Donald Trump into the debate.
“I’m so mad that Gabby Douglas didn’t put her hand on her heart during the national anthem so disrespectful!” pic.twitter.com/VC5dsmV3yE
— K (@Kristenn_2) August 10, 2016
— #BLACKLIVESMATTER (@RefinedBarb) August 11, 2016
There were many Twitter users who defended Douglas and advised her to ignore the haters.
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Ease up, America. Gabby Douglas wasn’t dissing you during the Olympics medal ceremony. https://t.co/TKvAW2DGuU
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug you can’t please everyone girl, don’t pay any attention to it. Enjoy the moment. Well done!
— ‘Sua (@Ayensua) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug We are proud to have you represent USA. Congratulations on helping win another team gold!
— Amy (@teruterubouzu) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug you have NOTHING to apologize for! As a veteran I also stand at attention! YOU MADE OUR COUNTRY PROUD TONIGHT! ❤️🇺🇸🏅
— Emily Donahue (@Emily_Donahue) August 10, 2016
Go home Twitter trolls. @gabrielledoug has done amazing things for her country this week. #wegotyouGabby
— Toots MaGoots (@MrsJekyllsHyde) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug No need to apologize. Hand over heart is NOT required. You’re a class act and a great athlete. Congrats on the gold!
— Laura (@Lauramontyphoto) August 11, 2016
@gabrielledoug @JHolmsted Ms Douglas, you have nothing to apologize for today. America is SO proud of you and The Final 5. Enjoy your win!
— LadyHorn91 (@LadyHorn91) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug standing at attention with your hands at your side is the correct position and military does it this way. #congrats
— Rosalyn (@rozied2000) August 10, 2016
@gabrielledoug @USAjobs2016 Such a sweet girl, and so AMAZING! We are SOOO proud of what you’ve accomplished. Don’t sweat the h8ters.
— BrooklynDad4Hillary (@mmpadellan) August 10, 2016
Sorry you had to deal with that @gabrielledoug You would think winning a gold medal for the US would please people! #YouHandledItLikeAPro
— Bri Cooper (@bridgettcooper) August 11, 2016
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