CNN’s Brianna Keilar fired back at Simone Biles critics on the network’s “New Day” program, suggesting that “white male talking heads” cannot and should not have an opinion about gymnast Simone Biles, who dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics earlier this week.
Although Keilar did not call her targets “white male talking heads” directly, the CNN chyron for her monologue noted, specifically that. “White male talking heads question courage of Simone Biles.” She also listed off a number of Twitter users who suggested that Biles should not be celebrated for giving “mental health” as the reason for abruptly pulling out of the women’s gymnastics team event on Tuesday and the women’s all-around event on Thursday.
First Keilar took aim at British television host Piers Morgan who claimed on Twitter that Biles was using mental health as a “shield” for her own “poor performance” and suggested that Biles was loath to admit she was not physically up to the challenge posed by the Olympic games.
Piers “ran off the set of his former TV show simply because another host questioned his criticism of Meghan Markle,” Keilar said.
Morgan, of course, was famously “canceled” for his opinion on Markle, who claimed, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, to have struggled with suicidal thoughts during her first pregnancy. Markle herself is alleged to have complained about Morgan’s statements.
Keilar then blasted Fox News radio host Doug Gottlieb, who compared Biles’ exit from the Olympics to LeBron James dropping out of a game at a crucial moment. Gottlieb’s words, Keilar contended, were an attack on those who struggle with mental health issues, writ large.
“They’re sending a message to people who are struggling, that if they’re really tough, they won’t prioritize their mental health,” Keilar said.
Biles’ decision to drop out of Tuesday’s team event proved controversial, but her American teammate, Suni Lee, took the gold home on Thursday night with a decisive win in the women’s all-around. Biles has not yet said whether she will compete in this weekend’s individual gymnastics events, though it’s not likely.
Biles defended herself from critics on Friday, posting a shocking video of her attempting a complicated maneuver on the uneven bars and crashing to the mat below.
“Biles, who has stated that the reason she withdrew was that she was suffering from the “twisties,” which causes gymnasts and divers to feel they are lost in the air,” the Daily Wire reported, “addressed her critics by writing on the first video, which showed her landing on her back.
“For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit, my mind and body are simply not in sync. As you can see. I don’t think you realize how hard this is on hard/competition surface,” Biles wrote. “Nor do I have to explain why I put health first. Physical health is mental health. I’m supposed to do 1 ½ more twists.”
“Almost there but not quite,” Biles wrote on a second video, which showed her attempting the same maneuver and this time flying off early but landing on her feet. “Still have ½ twist to go. No, this was not happening before I left the USA. It randomly started happening after prelims competition the VERY next morning. By that time NO an alternate was not allowed to be placed in my position for you ‘know it alls.’”
“We have 4 on a team for a reason,” Biles concluded. “I chose to not continue competition in jeopardizing losing a medal (of any color) for the girls/US. Also for my own safety and health.”