Hurdler Lolo Jones trash-talked about head injuries to former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand after he jokingly challenged her to a race on Twitter. What she didn’t know was the defensive tackle was paralyzed in a game.
After LeGrand tweeted to Jones “want to race me?” on Tuesday night, she replied: “Get Checked for a concussion. Clearly, u’ve been hit in the head… Cos u arnt beating a track athlete.”
When other users informed Jones of LeGrand’s injuries, she wrote: “Great I’m gonna get murdered for that tweet. When I had no clue who that dude was.Just responding to any athlete who challenges me to a race.”
LeGrand tweeted that he understood what happened and didn’t take it personally, saying, “All good.” As the incident continued to reverberate across social media Wednesday, LeGrand later posted that the reaction was “ridiculous.”
He wrote: “she is a great person who misunderstood what I tweeted. People stop bashing her it’s not right.”
Several of the tweets were later taken down.
LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury Oct. 16, 2010, during a kickoff return against Army. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, under former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, signed him as a symbolic gesture in May. He now works in broadcasting.
LeGrand’s Twitter bio describes him as a “Defensive Tackle for Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” though the photo shows him in a wheelchair. Jones wrote on Twitter that because she was viewing the page on her phone, the picture was too tiny to see clearly.
Jones finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at the London Olympics in August amid criticism that she receives more attention and endorsements than her results warrant. Four years earlier in Beijing, the American came in as the favorite and was in position to win gold when she hit the ninth of 10 hurdles and wound up seventh.
— Associated Press