Texas official: Sorry I called Simone Biles “national embarrassment”

Austin, Texas — Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz is apologizing to Simone Biles for calling the Olympic champion a “national embarrassment,” CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports.

The superstar gymnast, who lives in Spring, just north of Houston, has pulled out of two competitions in the Tokyo Games, saying she needs to focus on her mental health. It’s still not clear if she’ll participate in next week’s individual events.

In a now-deleted tweet, Reitz quote-tweeted video from Kerri Strug’s 1996 Olympic performance on an injured ankle then said, “Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, Reitz tweeted again about Biles. But this time, he did an abrupt about-face, saying he owed her “an apology. A big one”:

“I was like, ‘Oh no,'” said Dr. Antoinette Wilson, an assistant pyschology professor at University of Houston Downtown. “Between Simone and (tennis great) Naomi Osaka kind of really taking a forefront and saying, ‘You know, I’m protecting my mental health.'”

“Honestly, a lot of that criticism is tinged with some misogyny and racism,” Wilson said. “Simon Biles is a Black woman. Osaka identifies as a black woman as well, Japanese and Black.”

“They are also human when it comes to facing anxiety and depression,” Bill Prasad, licensed mental health and wellness expert, remarked to KHOU.

“No one could have trained for a pandemic, along with isolation, all combined during some of the most pressured filled moments of one’s life,” Prasad said.