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Kerri Walsh Jennings posts on Instagram that she went shopping without mask: ‘A little exercise in being brave’

Fellow beach volleyball player Jennifer Kessy commented, “I can’t believe how selfish this entire post is.”

Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings received criticism after posting on Instagram that she went shopping without a face covering.
Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings received criticism after posting on Instagram that she went shopping without a face covering.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings began an Instagram post caption with “This going to be a long post & it’s going to upset some people.”

Walsh Jennings wrote how she did not wear a mask while shopping over the weekend, which she referred to as “a little exercise in being brave.”

“I read a quote the other day that shook me - - THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO,” Walsh Jennings wrote. “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.”

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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 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 HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO. 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. Cont. in comments ....

A post shared by Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) on

More than 188,000 U.S. deaths have been caused by COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The consensus among public health experts is that wearing a mask is a preventive measure amid the coronavirus pandemic. Walsh Jennings said she empathized with those who have lost a loved one, but also wrote “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.”

Walsh Jennings ended her post with a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “I PREFER DANGEROUS FREEDOM TO PEACEFUL SLAVERY.”

Fellow beach volleyball player Jennifer Kessy commented, “I can’t believe how selfish this entire post is.” Walsh Jennings’ own sister, Kelli Mezzetti, said “You are better than this,” per the San Jose Mercury News.

The next day, Walsh Jennings offered an apology in a different Instagram post, writing “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.”

Walsh Jennings, 42, teamed up with Misty May-Treanor to win gold at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. She and April Ross took home bronze in the 2016 Games. Her current teammate is Brooke Sweat.

Read more at usatoday.com