American hurdler Lolo Jones received an unusual, lighthearted requeston her Twitter page recently. "Want to race me," read the note fromEric LeGrand, the inspirational Rutgers football player who wasparalyzed in a 2010 game.
Jones had never heard of LeGrand or looked at his avatar, which features a picture of him sitting in a wheelchair, and wrote back, "get checked for a concussion. clearly u've been hit in the head... cos u arent beating a track athlete."
Olympian Lolo Jones basically just talked smack to a man in a wheelchair.
It was that sort of quick-trigger, unfunny messaging that got Lolo into hot water the last time she sent a thoughtless tweet.
Backin July, Lolo suggested Americans would start performing better at theOlympics when "da Gun shootin competition" started. That tweet cameeight days after one of the worst gun massacres in United States historyat a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Neithertweet was, by itself, intentionally insensitive. Lolo didn't knowLeGrand was paralyzed, nor is it fair to think she was talking about acrazed gunman winning medals in "da Gun shootin competition."
Itwas the the timing, reaction and the lack of awareness of one'ssurroundings that made them cringe-worthy tweets. Lolo doing little toput out her fires didn't help the cause either. Rather than sayingsomething politically correct like "I'm sorry for the victims of theshooting and didn't intend any reference," she went on the defensive andacted like everyone else was wrong for making assumptions about hertweet. Perception meant nothing.
It's the same thing with LeGrand.When Lolo found out LeGrand is a quadrapalegic, her first instinct wasto whine about how much hate mail she was going to get for the tweet.There were no public apologies forthcoming. It took a personal messagefrom LeGrand to start communication. He said he didn't take anythingpersonal and understands.
"Thx, Lolo wrote back. "Getting trashed by tons of ppl glad ur not one of em."