Jayson Tatum Praises Fellow Olympian Simone Biles As 'A Hero'


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Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum praised fellow Olympian Simon Biles' decision to withdraw from competition to focus on her mental health.

Tatum, who is currently playing for the U.S. men's basketball team, quote-tweeted Media Matters researcher Jason Campbell's tweet featuring a clip of right-wing pundit Charlie Kirk criticizing Biles' decision, in which Kirk called the four-time Olympic Gold medalist "weak," "immature," a "selfish sociopath" and "a shame to the country."

“Is it that hard to be supportive and empathetic to what others are going through?” Tatum tweeted. “This is someone’s daughter and her health [you’re] referring to. Wonder if he has kids and how he would feel as a parent someone talking about his kids this way. Cause I’d be DAMNED. Simone is a hero!”

Biles has received an outpouring of support from other world class athletes following her initial decision to withdraw from the team all-around competition on Tuesday (July 27) and later the individual all-around competition on Wednesday (July 28).

Former USA Gymnastics teammate Aly Raisman, who competed alongside Biles as part of USA Gymnastics' "Final Five" during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, shared an Instagram post in support of Biles Tuesday.

"Wish I could give you the biggest hug. Sending you all the love & support @simonebiles," Raisman shared along with two photos from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The Gold medalist also acknowledged that Biles' situation may hint at more issues behind the scenes at USA Gymnastics, which she referred to as being "an absolute disaster for years."

The organization has been at the center of controversy since Biles and Raisman led the U.S. women's team to a total of 12 gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games.

Since then, former team doctor Larry Nassar was revealed to have sexually abused hundreds of young women, including Biles and Raisman, who spoke at his 2018 sentencing for a de facto life sentence.

"Unfortunately, not enough has changed to believe in a safer future," Raisman told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday. "I think this really just shows the lack of leadership at USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee. Their best athlete is struggling and is someone there to help her? I think it's an important question that we should be asking. Does Simone have the support that she needs?" 

"I know it was not discussed much when I was training, and we didn't feel like we had access to mental health experts to help us through the stress, so that's definitely something that needs to change and they need to have that for these athletes.

Biles, who won Gold in the 2016 all-around competition, cited mental health concerns for her decision to withdraw from the competition.

"After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health," USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Wednesday. "We wholeheartedly support Simone's decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many."

The 24-year-old is the most decorated gymnast in history, having won 27 Gold medals among 36 total between the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pacific Rim Championships and FIG All-Around World Cup.


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