Gabby Douglas’ Mom Defends Gymnast After Being “Bullied” in Rio: “What Did She Ever Do to Anyone?”

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Gabby Douglas ‘ mom has a message to the
critics:
Stop bullying my daughter.
As Team USA’s gymnastics team continues to
compete in the Summer Olympic Games, Natalie
Hawkins is standing up for a team member who
has experienced some criticism during her time in
Rio.
“She’s had to deal with people criticizing her hair,
or people accusing her of bleaching her skin. They
said she had breast enhancements, they said she
wasn’t smiling enough, she’s unpatriotic,” Gabby’s
mom shared with Reuters. “Then it went to not
supporting your teammates. Now you’re ‘Crabby
Gabby.’ You name it and she got trampled. What
did she ever do to anyone?”
Some viewers got upset with the gold medalist on
August 9 when Gabby failed to place her hand over
her heart as the national anthem played in the
background. Despite a public apology , it wasn’t
enough for some fans to avoid voicing their fustrations. str

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“I don’t think respecting your country or your flag
boils down to whether you put your hand over
your heart or not. It’s in your actions towards your
country, how well are you abiding by its laws, how
well are you helping your fellow citizens?” Natalie
shared with the publication. “We grew up in the
military community. My mum spent almost 30
years in the military, my dad’s a two-time Vietnam
vet. Because of that it was so insulting that they
would accuse my daughter of being unpatriotic
when we are so tied to the military family. When
the Star Spangled Banner is played, most military
members either salute or stand to attention.”
Later on in the games, more fans were left
wondering why Gabby didn’t deliver a standing
ovation once her teammates Aly Raisman and
Simone Biles won silver and gold respectively in
Thursday’s all-around competition.
Ultimately, Natalie argues that the attacks on social
media and online have an effect on her 20-year-
old family member.l

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“We’ve been brought to many tears because I don’t
know what she’s done to warrant such an attack.
To me it looks like she is being bullied,” she
proclaimed. “What I saw in the stands was
someone who was hurting and she was also
angry. What was going through her head was ‘I’m
being attacked for everything I do so I might as
well not do anything. Because no matter what I do,
I am being attacked.'”
Natalie continued, “I want … people to show me if
they have ever seen Gabrielle being disrespectful
… or say something inappropriate. There is
nothing because for her being a role model is such
a supreme honor.”
While Gabby was unable to walk away with a
medal Sunday in the uneven bars competition, her
mom will always remain a true fan. “It’s a huge
honor for me to be her mother as she’s the
bravest person

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I know.”

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