Female Athlete Kicked Out of Olympics for Racist Tweet About Africans

twitterRemember, back in the day, when athletes got kicked off of teams for using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs? That's so pre-social media. Here in 2012, athletes get kicked off of teams for tweeting.

Would-be Greek Olympic triple-jumper, Voula Papachristou, recently got booted from the summer games because of a seriously insensitive tweet she fired off about the influx of African immigrants to her home country.

Yeah. It was pretty bad.


Papachristou wrote on her Twitter: "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting their home food!!!" (Yes, she ended a racially-charged tweet with a triple exclamation point.) And then, just like that, the Greek Olympic Committee banned her from competing. Obviously, she's pissed. During an interview, she said:

I have not slept at all and to be honest I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened. I am trying to stay calm otherwise I would lose control. After so many years of hurt and sacrifices to try and get to my first Olympics I am very bitter and upset. But what has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision.

It's not hard to understand why Papachristou is upset. She trained her whole life for this one in a million chance, and now, because of the swift hit of a couple of keys, it's taken away. But what was she thinking?! It's pretty much impossible to wrap my head around why anyone would write something like this on their Twitter, nevertheless an athlete about to compete in the Olympics! These people are supposed to be idols, people kids look up to. What kind of message would it send if something like this had no repercussions whatsoever for Papachristou?

We live in a world now where every single thing we say and do is documented. But the thing is, save for friends tagging you in photos on Facebook, we control most of what is out there about ourselves. We're the masters of our own blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds. We need to handle that shit responsibly. If we don't, it'll come back to bite us in the ass. Or, worse, it'll get us kicked out of the Olympics.

Do you think it was right to kick Papachristou off the team because of her tweets?


Image via carrotcreative/Flickr

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