On Wednesday, Shaun White, 31, nailed all of his jumps on his way to a third Olympic gold in snowboarding and then completely crashed and burned in his celebration.
In his elation, White — who was literally jumping for joy, yelling and weeping over his hard-fought, record-setting win — was handed an American flag, which he draped over himself, accidentally allowed it to drag on the ground, and at one point unwittingly stepped on.
Later on, White apologized for the accidental show of disrespect to the flag. “I remember being handed the flag but I was trying to put my gloves on and hold the flag and get board,” White told reporters. “Honestly, if there was anything, I definitely didn’t mean any disrespect. The flag that’s flying on my house right now is way up there. So sorry for that. But I’m definitely proud — very proud — to be a part of Team USA and being an American and to be representing for everyone back home.”
The internet responded to White’s American flag fail as you might expect, with some blasting him and others defending the clearly unintentional show of disrespect. Here’s one example of a series of exchanges that quickly turned political:
A few other responses: