‘Worst American Stereotype’: Swimmer Michael Andrew Faces Backlash After Going Maskless for Interview

Michael Andrew
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

U.S. swimmer Michael Andrew ruffled the feathers of several social media users on Friday after it was revealed that he went maskless for a post-race interview at the Olympics.

Andrew, who told the press earlier this month that he refused to take any of the coronavirus vaccines ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, appeared on Friday without a mask in the mixed zone where reporters speak to athletes, according to NBC News.

“For me, it’s pretty hard to breathe in after kind of sacrificing my body in the water, so I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth,” Andrew said of his decision to forego a face mask.

“I think it’s great that there’s procedures, but at the end of the day, all of us here have been under quarantine and in the same testing protocol, so there’s a level of safety that’s comfortable when we’re racing,” he added.

Andrew’s defense for going maskless was not enough, however, for many social media users.

“Swimmer Michael Andrew proved the worst American stereotype when he refused to wear a mask (and refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19) during interviews,” wrote USA Today opinion columnist Michael Stern.

“Not only did he decline #vaccination which could not just protect him and his teammates, but now he is not following mitigation protocols as well,” said Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease specialist. “Michael Andrew may be an Olympian, but he doesn’t seem like the most caring teammate.”

“Michael Andrew, the highest profile unvaccinated American Olympian, refused to wear a mask in the mixed zone,” noted Christine Brennan, a USA Today columnist. “Every other US swimmer I’ve seen all week has worn one.”

“The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee had a chance to take a stand against the arrogant behavior of unmasked and unvaccinated Michael Andrew,” Brennan added in another tweet. “Instead, it gave in to his selfishness.”

“Just keep thinking about unvaccinated Michael Andrew refusing to wear a mask when talking to media, as reported by @cbrennansports,” wrote Maggie Hendricks, a writer for Bally Sports. “At trials, I had to show proof of my vax and get tested every four days and wear a mask in every press conference.”

“And I did it, and every media member did it as did the volunteers and coaches and staff, because a month before the Olympics, keeping the athletes safe is paramount. And we all got that,” Hendricks added.

Hendricks went on to conclude that Andrew should not be treated differently, saying “no exception should be made for Michael Andrew.”

It didn’t end there.

USA Today’s Nancy Armour took exception to the USOPC saying that Andrew didn’t violate any mask rules.

The Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Williams had thoughts.

Follow Kyle on Twitter @RealKyleMorris and Facebook.

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