About two years ago I began using my public persona to talk about more things than just athletics. I know any athlete that does as such gets the whole "stick to sports" routine from those who don't want to think of their athletes as being anything besides one-dimensional. (Like Laura Ingraham's "Shut up and dribble" banality to LeBron.)
That said, I still do try to talk about sports the most as they are what matter to me - namely running and the like. However, two weeks ago, during the Royal Wedding, something I could not possibly care less about, KT Hopkins, noted white supremacist and all around anal carbuncle said the following about Meghan Markle. "No competition. You can't buy class." Now, even with trump and his ilk allowing Nazis, racists, sexists, etc more free reign to say things out loud that they should be saying in their inside voice, KT still had the brains(?) to be mildly vague with her racist dogwhistling about Markle's blackness. So I replied.
Granted, this is not the most couth reply. But I would much rather someone speak the truth in a harsh tone than peddle bullshit with embroideries. It was well-received by many who felt the same. (And I put this picture up to show I am not afraid of what I said. You can disagree with it and that is fine. I
Hell even the ones who agree with me don't have the balls to say so.)
KT replied to me with some inane retort about how it was not two women getting married (intentionally missing the point) and I replied to her. Then it was done. I went about my life.
A week later I get notification my Twitter account has been suspended for "targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We
consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence
someone else’s voice."While this is utter b.s. I know women on Twitter who have posted messaged they received threatening to rape and kill them and THEY have gotten suspended - not the person who sent the message. So I wasn't surprised. Disappointing but not surprised. I assumed I would wait 48 hours or whatnot and be back on Twitter. But then I realized it was an indefinite suspension.
I can no longer tweet. I can no longer access my direct messages with personal information from those who purchased my book and whose addresses I need to send them said book. can't see virtually any tweet posted in an article online as I essentially no longer have an account Guess who still has an account - KT Hopkins. (and trump and Orrin Hatch's Social media guy who likes to say just as insulting things about me and like a billion other people who are far worse than me. Hell, Roseanne Barr still has an account, even after she said she was done with Twitter after calling a black woman an "ape.")
I appealed this suspension. Twice. I'm on the third time right now. I have begun sending daily messages to Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) through his email stating my case. I don't exactly expect him to reply (and a week into doing so he hasn't) but one hopes. I have been fortunate enough to have a variety of people send tweets and messages in my support, both famous and not, as well. (You can, too: Jack@twitter.com or @jack on Twitter.) I have also had some people gloat. And honestly, if you want to judge me as a person, look who supports me and look who is gloating. That says everything you need to know about my message.
Some say "And he calls himself a motivational speaker!" First, I never have. Second, even if I did, a speaker who wants to motivate isn't beholden to every single person who demands they spout nothing but flowery platitudes. "Dance for me, monkey!" has never been something I responded to. I do my best to inspire people. And I have tons of examples that I have. However, because what I said made you unhappy doesn't mean I have failed at what I do.
Will I ever get my account back? I honestly do not think so. It is disappointing but for a week and counting to not see the horrible things that trump and his feeble-minded
supporters have done has been a blessing. I will miss being able to do
what I can with what I have to help people who are not me. But I
fortunately still have other forums.
But for any other person who has an audience, especially athletes, and does not attempt to use it, I feel sorry for you. I know I am the one who has lost thousands of dollars in sponsorships, partnerships etc, but you are the one who silently stands by while others are harmed. I hope the money helps you sleep at night. I hope refusing to take a stand allows you to be able to look at your minority friends in the eye.
It appears people are finally beginning to back me up (now that it is safe for them to do so, naturally.) I bore the brunt of the worst of it for coming out first, which, well, kinda sucks, but I am who I am. In the meantime, I will continue to push my body to new heights athletically. It is what I have control over. The rest is just noise.
I turned 42 yesterday. I continue to grow as a person. Could I have just said "Now, KT, I think it is bad you don't like black people."? Absolutely. But horrible people don't deserve niceties. They don't necessarily deserve harassment either. Regardless, I didn't harass her.
So, Jack Dorsey., CEO of Twitter: why don't you get half of a backbone and stop kowtowing to the worst dredges of your website and give me back my account? It is fun to be on the right side of history. Come join me.