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Klete Keller, Washington Capitol
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Klete Keller: American Sports Hero or “Misguided” American?

Three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, pleaded not guilty to seven charges

On Tuesday, Klete Keller, a three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, pleaded not guilty to seven charges for his participation in the riot that stormed the Capitol building on January 6. The 38-year old issued a plea via virtual conference with the U.S. District Court in Washington.

Keller was initially identified by law enforcement, and at that point he was looking at three charges. Keller would turn himself into federal authorities in mid-January and was released without bond. After the grand jury proceeding, Keller was facing an additional four charges for his participation in the riot.

Keller is facing charges including civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. In the original complaint filed by the FBI, they said they were able to identify the swimmer in part by the Team USA jacket he was wearing on the day of the riot. Keller is facing up to 30 years in prison according to reports from the post. 

Heros or “Misguided” Americans

Recently politics and sports have been in a more open relationship meaning that athletes are talking more about their politics and being politically active more than they ever have been. Last year we saw commercials where NFL players were encouraging people to register to vote and  then exercise their right to vote. The WNBA has an entire campaign dedicated to Breonna Taylor and all the other victims of police brutality. 

Players are tired of not speaking up, but what’s too much and where do people cross a line? Colby Covington, among other UFC Fighters, were very vocal about their support of Donald Trump meanwhile Lebron James endorsed the Biden ticket, so you can see that people are talking and people are paying attention, but the question is who is doing or saying too much? 

Enter: Klete Keller

Klete Keller, I think, is a good example of taking things too far. In the months leading up the election and ultimately the Capitol riot, I was seeing stuff all over social media about how if Biden wins there’s gonna be a civil war and other things of that nature because the election was “rigged”. 

After the election, I kept an eye out for anything and sure enough they stormed the Capitol on 6th. Sometime in the aftermath Klete Keller was identified by the FBI and then he turned himself in. After all of it is said and done he wants to plead not guilty to the charges, but what’s odd is that he deleted all of his pro-Trump tweets and I assume anything that might incriminate himself. 

The reason it’s odd is because if he’s pleading not guilty to the charges then why did he delete all of those tweets unless his defense is going to be that he was somehow brainwashed by social media and that it really isn’t his fault. This right here, is someone doing too much and saying too much. 

Keller’s not “Misguided” 

I can only imagine what the defense will say, but I believe it will be something to the effect that Keller was brainwashed by social media and lied to by Donald Trump which is what led to this, that, and the third which is why he shouldn’t be found guilty. 

Again, that’s what I imagine they are going to argue but it’s all a lie. Each one of us has the same access to information as the person next to us, and while there was a bunch of misinformation circulating the internet, there were a great deal of people who felt that putting a fact check on Trump’s tweets was part of the liberal agenda to censor Trump. How can I believe that he fell victim to being brainwashed when he was supporting a president that didn’t even want people to fact check him? 

Keller wasn’t brainwashed; He believed what he was told because he wanted to and at first he was just talking and tweeting which wouldn’t have been a problem had he not participated in the Capitol riots but now it’s a problem. He was doing and saying too much– and not only was he doing and saying too much he was wearing his Team USA swag to boot. You can’t tell me that he didn’t wear his Team USA jacket on that very day because he was gungho for Trump and then talk became action and then action became federal charges and now Klete is looking at 30 years in prison. 

I just don’t believe that he was misguided, but here’s what I do believe; I believe that he knows he’s facing serious jail time and when people are facing jail time they will do, say or pay anything to avoid going to jail and that’s all this is.

In the end, athletes are people too and they make choices just like anyone else, but don’t let their celebrity status fool you into thinking that people like Klete Keller are victims. He’s no more a victim than Gina Carano and they are the direct result of people doing and saying too much.