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#pounditTuesday, December 6, 2022

Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings draws attention for mask posts on Instagram

Kerri Walsh Jennings

Olympic great Kerri Walsh Jennings is drawing attention for two recent posts on Instagram.

Walsh Jennings, 43, teamed with Misty May-Treanor to win three Olympic gold medals during her beach volleyball career. She continues to compete in beach volleyball and was aiming to qualify for the 2020 Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic interfered.

Over the weekend, Walsh Jennings received attention for her thoughts on the government and society’s response to the pandemic. She wrote two posts on Instagram about the subject.

The first post advocated for people to get back to life and improve their health to best combat the virus. The part of her post that irritated many readers was when she said she went shopping without a mask.

Here was her first post, which was shared on Sunday:

This is going to be a long post & it’s going to upset some people. My intention is NEVER to hurt or disrespect. Please know that. I am working my way through these curious times that have me questioning everything. I am wanting to lead & stand for my beliefs WITHOUT upsetting people but, per usual when one takes a stand, this is unlikely. If this hurts or upsets you, I am sorry. I am working through my thoughts & my way throughout the madness of 2020. I am wanting to be a light, an encourager (sic) of the strength + resilience within each of us and I aspire to be someone whom empowers others to take ownership of all sides of their lives. There is freedom & deep satisfaction in living this way. I want this for everyone.

Here we go ….

I had a little exercise in being brave yesterday & I’m still a bit edgy about it.

I went shopping without a mask on & this is why … I read a quote the other day that shook me – –


This statement woke me up & the truth of it has had me obsessing on the matter of how I can mindfully & compassionately stand up for my rights & for the freedoms our constitution has granted us all WITHOUT being reckless or putting anyone else in danger.

We are all endlessly complaining about the restrictive & arbitrarily selective rules that we are being strongly “suggested” to follow & yet we are all consenting; 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.

I know people are getting sick & many have gone to Heaven. I have lived through a lot of loss in my family, in my life. I cherish life. I would never downplay the impact of a single loss of life. That is it’s own conversation & my heart goes out to all those suffering poor health, the loss of a loved one and the fear that the reaction to & media coverage of COVID-19 has created in your days.

I believe we can protect the vulnerable while opening up society. I am so willing to support the vulnerable. My family has vulnerable humans within it. I have some friends who are vulnerable and I would do anything for any of them.

Mostly, I want to empower people to start/continue to live healthy lives. Eat well and eat real food. Prioritize sleep. Move and get your heart working every day. Pay attention to your breath and perhaps start a breath work protocol to work and strengthen your lungs. Get outside. Think good thoughts. KNOW your immune system is designed to support you through any illness – we must work support our entire system. I want people to stop living in fear and start living in a way that strengthens themselves body, mind and spirit.

Things won’t open up and freedoms won’t come back unless we are willing to push back and stand up for them. I am willing to fight for the freedoms I have been guaranteed by my constitution. I don’t want to fight anyone in the process of this and I’d rather not make anyone uncomfortable or upset. If that happens I pray for understanding and I pray that I have the capacity to handle it with grace.

I am praying for the world every day. I see so much unity and so many blessings daily but the scary part truly scares me and I hope we can better come together to address the issues and challenges at hand. I want what you want. Health, happiness, safety and security for all. I’m at my limit for how it is “ensured” to us. Basically this quote sums it up:

& to all.

After receiving many complaints about her post, Walsh Jennings posted on the subject a day later.

In the second post, Walsh Jennings posted an image saying she was looking for a “truce.”

Here is what her second statement said:

“My goodness gracious. To those I’ve upset so deeply, I am sorry. To those who are open to hearing where I am coming from, I appreciate your openness and civility. To those in agreement, I appreciate you expressing your views. To those calling me dumb, selfish, privileged, bigoted, and racist and telling me that “you are better than this”, I fully acknowledge that addressing such an emotional, layered, nuanced and polarizing topic on social media was not the smartest thing …. pages and pages could be written about every side of everyone’s opinion, yet I went for it because I am alarmed for my country – 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 have researched and I have spoken with experts …. This is why I spoke my point of view.

“At some point we should all stop and take inventory of everything that has been thrown our way over the past months and the reaction/ to these things. If it sits well or well enough with you, great. If not, great. We should all carry on RESPECTFULLY living our virtues, standing up for our beliefs and doing our best to do no harm in doing so.

“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. 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. The comment section of my last post is a reflection of where we are at and it is …. tragic. I’m not quite sure when we became a world where a differing opinion equates to evil and hatred, but here we are.

“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.

“I staunchly believe we should open up the world and still work to protect the vulnerable. They are not mutually exclusive objectives or goals.

“Using a mask to express my love of freedom perhaps seems a bit shallow and selfish (peoples health are at play, after all), but it is a real thing to point to and it is the potential starting point for so much more. I truly believe we are on the slippery slope of a mask mandate evolving into a vaccine mandate. That scares the out of me.

“With love and respect for all points of view (mostly) even if I disagree K”

There have been nearly 900,000 reported deaths related to the coronavirus worldwide. The presence of the virus has resulted in a difficult societal balancing act across the globe between protecting the health of citizens while also trying to protect the ability of citizens to continue making a living and doing what makes them happy.

People fall on different sides of the debate and often have extremely passionate thoughts on the matter, as these posts illustrate. Walsh Jennings is not the only high-profile female to voice her thoughts on the subject recently.


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