Olympian Gabby Douglas’ ‘disrespectful’ act during national anthem draws fire. But she has an excuse

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.”

“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.

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.

Other Twitter users brought Donald Trump into the debate.

There were many Twitter users who defended Douglas and advised her to ignore the haters.

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