Hannity says some criticism of Biles, Osaka ‘heartless’
Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday came out in defense of star athletes Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, both of whom have withdrawn from competitions in recent weeks citing their mental health.
Hannity said some critics of the two “seem pretty heartless in their comments.”
The moment came during his cable news show on Wednesday evening, shortly after he made comments knocking fellow Olympian Gwen Berry, who drew backlash from conservatives last month for turning away from the country’s flag as the national anthem played at the U.S. track and field trials.
“All right. Now, yet another Olympic athlete who doesn’t seem to love the country she is representing fell flat in the Olympics this week, as track and field participant Gwen Berry failed to medal in the hammer throw,” he said.
Less than a minute later, th host shifted discussion to Biles and Osaka, who both have garnered attention in recent weeks for stepping away from competition to focus on their mental health.
“Tonight, I want to take a moment to discuss the conversation surrounding mental health with the case of Olympian Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka in the tennis world,” he said.
“To be honest, and this may surprise you, I’m kind of shocked people have actually been so mean and cruel in many cases, passing judgment of these incredible female athletes. Can we just be a little more respectful?”
“Remember, they are under tremendous pressure. They are all very young and sometimes, all of us need to take a deep breath, relax, reset, move forward. These young women have sacrificed years and years, over decade of their life to become some of the greatest athletes in their respective sports,” he continued.
“Now, I don’t want anyone to quit or step away. We always want to fight through fear and adversity,” he said.
But he urged his viewers to remember one message in particular: “None of us ever know what someone, especially any young person, what they might be going through that you don’t know about.”
“You just don’t know. They are under tremendous pressure. … And I’m sorry, but some people seem pretty heartless in their comments,” he added.