TIME named Simone Biles the 2021 Athlete of the Year.
Why? Well as a result of, to cite the outlet, she had “confusion in her eyes” and was “unsure of her whereabouts in midair.”
So a lot for elite efficiency.
TIME isn’t actually desirous about her athletic talent anyway. It gave Biles the award as a result of she bowed out of group competitors at the 2021 Olympics for psychological well being considerations. TIME quoted Colin Kaepernick to validate its selection. Kaepernick praised Biles’ “grace, eloquence, and courage.”
If Kaepernick says so, it have to be true.
Biles’ resolution cut up the nation anew. Some referred to as Biles a quitter, whereas others deemed her a hero. And that’s the challenge with TIME naming her Athlete of the Year, a title apparently nonetheless of significance.
As I argued at the time, folks attacking Biles’ character had been grandstanding, however so had been these pretending her resolution was an act of heroism. Both sides pandered, a phrase that exactly describes what TIME had carried out.
At the Olympics, Simone Biles ought to have carried out no matter was in her finest curiosity. And she says she did. However, that doesn’t make her the high athlete of 2021.
The sports activities world has weaponized psychological well being prefer it has weaponized racism, turning it right into a conversation-stopper to separate one group from the different, the good guys and the unhealthy.
Meanwhile, some athletes have used psychological well being to excuse their poor habits.
In July, WNBA participant Liz Cambage blamed her psychological state for getting right into a bodily altercation and violating COVID protocols, and this previous summer time, NFL cornerback Richard Sherman blamed his psychological well being for his actions after police arrested him on costs of housebreaking and home violence. The media gave each Cambage and Sherman a go, despite the fact that their habits was worse than what Biles did at the Olympics.
Do you see what’s happening right here? Sports pundits and athletes have calculated that they will use psychological well being for defense and social acquire.
Fox News’ Will Cain put it effectively:
“Mental health is a real thing. We have to focus on mental health. But it’s also become this total ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. …Eh, no one can question it. Listen to the language we’ve adopted.”
Biles contributed to that trigger. So the media has aggressively rewarded Biles for her efforts. As a end result, Biles is now “Athlete of the Year,” edging out athletes like Tom Brady, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Aaron Rodgers, Connor McDavid, and Nikola Jokić.
TIME’s blurb about Biles reveals a lot of this ulterior motive. It hardly mentions her athletic efficiency in 2021, suggesting that she truly gained the award for not competing:
“Experts agree that especially for young black women, Biles’ actions were a signal that it’s acceptable to claim agency over both their minds and their bodies. Since the days of slavery, says LaNail Plummer, a therapist who specializes in providing mental health services to back and LGBTQ communities in the D.C. area, the bodies of black women have been subject to fetishization: for purposes of labor, reproduction or athletic entertainment. Throughout their careers, for example, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams have been the targets of racist and sexist comments because of their appearances. ‘Our bodies have always been under scrutiny,’ says Plummer. ‘Oftentimes, black women are not given the freedom to be able to just be authentic. Oftentimes, they have to be what somebody asked them or designed for them to be.’”
Wait, what do Biles’s race and gender should do with any of this? Nothing. That’s the level.
Simone Biles is a really proficient athlete, however she isn’t the athlete of the 12 months. She is, nonetheless, TIME’s Athlete of the Year awardee as a result of of her race and gender and her “grace, eloquence and courage.”