Paralympic Gold Medalist Roy Perkins Slams Becca Meyers’ ‘Nonsense’ Claims

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Photo Courtesy: Kevin McCarthy

Roy Perkins, a three-time Paralympian and 10-time medalist, took to social media to hit back at “nonsense” claims by fellow Paralympian Becca Meyers over her allegations of mistreatment by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Meyers recently withdrew from the Paralympics in Tokyo, which was slated to be her third, over concerns that the USOPC wouldn’t adequately equip her with a personal care assistant. Normally, Meyers is allowed to bring her mother as a PCA for international tournaments. But the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting the amount of people traveling – and thus, PCAs – for Team USA, with just one for the 33-person delegation. With those limits, Meyers, who is deaf-blind, withdrew from the Games. Her plight has drawn attention from U.S. Senators urging the USOPC to look into its shortcomings.

Perkins hit back on his Facebook account. He decried the narrative as “not a disability rights issue” and alluded to the fact that he and other para-athletes have dealt with similar situations for years. He cautions against what he believes is a “beef with the USOP” (sic) generating negative attention on the larger Paralympic movement.

From Perkins’ post:

This sounds horrible to the general public, who don’t realize that the majority of swimmers in every Games don’t have an assistant, despite often having disabilities which frankly are more severe than partial lack of sight and hearing. Of course nobody wants to acknowledge that (and indeed most of the headlines very conveniently omit that she is neither fully blind nor deaf, but it adds to the perceived injustice that they are trying to sell), but when we’re talking about a limited number of assistant spots, that’s a calculation that needs to be made and always has been made. Full quadriplegic, fully blind, and intellectually impaired athletes have come without an assistant. Their teammates and the coaching staff helped them. They got through the Games safely and successfully. We build some character and learn to deal with doing shit we don’t necessarily want to do, living in non-ideal circumstances and leaning on each other while still performing at a high level.

Perkins, who competed in the S5 classification, won gold in the men’s 50 fly in Rio and Beijing. He’s also earned four silver medals and four bronze medals. He calls Meyers’ decision “an excuse meant to give validation to selfish decisions” and intimates many in the Paralympic community agree with his assessment.

From the post again:

It is an insult to all the athletes who have gone through their own hell over the years and either got through it or had to quit silently and without excuse, to see somebody essentially play the public sympathy disability card because she didn’t want to follow same rules as everybody else.

Read Roy Perkins’ full post here:

18 comments

  1. avatar
    Doug Senz

    This just confirms what I learned a few years back about the whole paralympic swim program. It is made up of administrators that do not really care about the athletes, only about their own jobs and a lot of athletes that only care about themselves. Too bad,.

  2. avatar
    bobbi hill

    Wow he sounds like a “Karen”

    • avatar
      Tom

      He sounds like a logical, normal person who is calling out someone for acting like a privileged, entitled brat. You, on the other hand, sound like an a-hole.

      • avatar
        Jim

        He sounds truthful
        And in this day currently will be called out
        I appreciate his voice

      • avatar
        CN

        You seem to be the authority on privileged, entitled a-hole..

      • avatar
        Seriously

        Thanks Tom. You said it so I and others don’t have to.

        2 thumbs up on the post.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Yup! You are so right Bobbi

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      You’ve missed the whole point of the story.

  3. avatar
    amercedes

    She has no right to complain because other people have it worst? How is that an argument? They should all be fighting to have better accommodations. Her bringing the issue to the public is a good thing. These organizers should be accountable for their actions and decisions. They are making plenty of money on the athletes back. Better accommodations should be made.

  4. avatar
    Russ

    For all of you thinking she is a brat, imagine you or your child being blind AND deaf, trying to maneuver in a strange country. I’m not for any type of wokeness, but I don’t think this is a woke issue. I don’t blame her.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Japan is not a strange country.

      • avatar
        A Disabled Person

        It is when you can’t see it or hear it.

  5. avatar
    Lynne

    The reason the story is catching people’s attention is exactly the statistic of how few support folks a team gets. It’s not just about this athlete at this time. She’s trying to bring awareness and change the situation. Our teams and athletes all deserve better treatment. To say, hey, we can handle it is not the point. Get over your resentment and let things change.

  6. avatar
    Jo Ann Carpenter

    Perhaps she could have made a larger and more impressive statement by stating the concerns and problems but traveling to compete in the Olympics. This is not her first ‘rodeo’. If after she was there, she was not successful, then perhaps bow out but stay to help others.

  7. avatar
    Will

    Had this been any other year, her point would hold water. When a committee makes decisions with the health of the athletes, coaches, officials, and support personnel in mind, they know that they have to make cuts. The cuts were in no way aimed at Ms. Myers, and Mr. Perkins is merely saying that everyone involved made sacrifices. In trying times, we must all dig deeper to do better.

    The purpose of sports is not participation; that is the fun part. The actual reason that we want people involved in sports is to learn how to overcome obstacles. Participating at the Para-O level already shows the participants have the temerity to succeed. COVID did what life does; it threw a curveball. It is how you handle the curveball in-flight that measures your readiness for life. If you swing and miss, shake it off and then get ready for the next pitch, you are a sportsman. If you swing and miss and get angry at yourself or the pitcher, you have a lot of work to do on yourself. If you hit that curve, as long as it stays between the lines, it is fair, and you showed your ability for resilience.

    I understand the nature of a PA. However, my background is turning disabilities into abilities. I cannot do that with your mom, dad, brother, or sister hanging around all the time. They will not always be there in life. Learning how to lean on others and letting others rely on you is something everybody – able or not – must learn. Self-sufficiency should be the goal of every young person. Ms. Myers missed this opportunity, but without a doubt, she will have others.

  8. avatar
    Seth

    Elsewhere, Mr. Perkins is quoted acknowledging that only having one pca for thirty-four athletes is an issue that needs to be dealt with. I’m unclear how he can hold that view and then go on attacking an athlete who’s unable to compete for that reason and chose to stand up and say something about it (no one would know about the issue if she hadn’t, btw). I’ve also seen him trot out the ‘if she gets her own pca, THEN EVERYONE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE THEIR OWN’ strawman (and he’s not the first former Paralympian I’ve seen using that faulty logic). I don’t find him to be credible (but he could certainly prove me wrong in if in his quest for a higher standard in journalism, he encouraged reporters to speak to the Japanese government and Olympic organizers to determine whether or not the USOPC could have granted the reasonable accommodation they’d been granting Becca since 2017).

  9. avatar
    Julia

    Missing the point through all your “poor disabled girl hysteria”. Athletes that have far greater disabilities have managed through the games with coaches and teammates helping them. They did not need their mom to go with them. This is not a case of the US Paralympics supporting their athlete. This is a case of dysfunctional parenting. There comes a time as a parent of a disabled child to let go of your child and teach them to make it out in the world . Is Becca Myers Mom going to work with her too? Entitlement is not a good trait as teammate or a parent .

  10. avatar
    Tim Trammell

    Becca,

    You are and will always be a champ in my opinion and as a former pastor, I do not lie! Too bad that others did not see your very hard work and dedication to our country and your sport. Swimming is now my favorite Olympic sport to watch. You are a “HERO”! Keep up the good fight!

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