Texas deputy attorney general apologizes after calling Simone Biles ‘childish national embarrassment’ in now-deleted tweet

Office of Texas Attorney General called Reitz’s comment ‘inappropriate and insensitive’

(Laurence Griffiths, Getty Images)

HOUSTON – One day after withdrawing from the team competition, Houston’s Simone Biles announced that she would not be competing in the individual all-around final.

While millions of people have expressed their support of her strength and decision to be open and honest about the importance of mental health, one Texas elected official had a different opinion.

In a now-deleted tweet, Aaron Reitz, the Texas Deputy Attorney General called the accomplished gymnast a “selfish, childish national embarrassment.”

KPRC 2 was able to capture a screengrab of the tweet before it was deleted:

Aaron Reitz, Texas Deputy Attorney General called, in a now-deleted tweet, the accomplished gymnast a “selfish, childish national embarrassment.” (KPRC 2)
Aaron Reitz, Texas Deputy Attorney General called, in a now-deleted tweet, the accomplished gymnast a “selfish, childish national embarrassment.” (KPRC 2)

In the tweet, he retweeted a video of Kerri Strug’s 1996 gold medal event after severely injuring her ankle. Reitz compared Biles to Strug and implied that she should have been like Strug and competed for the sake of the team.

Many commenters expressed outrage at Reitz’s statement.

One person simply shared a retweet that said Strug competed in a time where the system was abusive and put the needs of individual gymnasts last. Another person said that Biles has “ten times the integrity than you do.” Someone else pointed to Attorney General Ken Paxton called his indictment an embarrassment.

Strug has shown support for Biles on Twitter, saying she was “sending love” to the gymnast.

The office of the Texas Attorney General responded to the tweet with a quote from Ken Paxton where he showed support for Biles’ decision. The tweet said the issue would be handled internally.

Several hours after Reitz’s comment about Biles, he tweeted a statement and an apology to Biles.

The tweet read, “I owe Simone Biles an apology, A big one.”

The statement in the tweet read the following:

“My personal social media comments do not represent Attorney General Paxton or the Office of the Attorney General.

“In a moment of frustration and disappointment, I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed. That was an error. I can’t imagine what Simone Biles has gone through.

“Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time. I apologize to her, and wish her well.”

Biles is the most decorated gymnast of all-time with 30 Olympic and World Championship medals.

About the Authors:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.

Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.