- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Three-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings declared on social media Tuesday that freedom is “worth fighting for” after she faced a wave of backlash for revealing she recently went shopping without wearing a face mask.

Ms. Jennings first came under fire Monday after she wrote that she “had a little exercise in being brave” over the weekend after she went shopping without a mask despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. She expressed anger that Americans had accepted the standard of wearing a mask without putting up “much of a fight.”

“We are all endlessly complaining about the restrictive & arbitrarily selective rules that we are being strongly ‘suggested’ to follow & yet we are all consenting,” Ms. Jennings wrote. “Not much of a fight, just a lot of complaining & strongly disagreeing with this manipulation, but we keep consenting. It’s maddening. It has crushed our society, people’s livelihoods, our children’s spirits, & the fabric of our world. We have become a country & a world estranged from each other & it is more deeply unhealthy than any virus could ever be.”

Many commenters slammed Ms. Jennings as selfish, while others said they appreciated her honesty. In a follow-up post Tuesday, the Olympian apologized for any offense she may have caused but doubled down on her sentiment that Americans should speak up against the stripping of their rights.

“… I am alarmed for my country,” she wrote, “I am heartbroken for my children - I am devastated for every small business owner who has gone under or who is barely hanging on - I have seen so much conflicting and erroneous data from the experts - and on and on and on.”

“I was not looking to do anything but express my belief that FREEDOM IS RIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR, and amidst the chaos, divisiveness, fear and undeniable emotion of these times, I believe we have to stay mindful of the FACT that our freedoms have slowly been taken from us with our consent,” she continued. “I feel each of the words I mentioned above (fear/chaos/divisiveness) are being intentionally stoked and we are becoming a country that I do not recognize. … I am not advocating for people to stop wearing masks. I wear a mask most often. I don’t believe in their efficacy unless it’s of a certain caliber, yet I wear them. I am advocating critical thinking and civility. I am advocating personal responsibility.”

Ms. Jennings announced a day earlier that she had decided to leave her home in California.

“The winds of change have encouraged us to make some BIG changes in our lives,” she wrote without further elaboration.

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