John Franklin Stephens

The following is a guest post in the form of an open letter from Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens to Ann Coulter after this tweet during last night’s Presidential debate.

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow.  So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.  I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you.  In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me.  You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

Come join us someday at Special Olympics.  See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia

EDITOR’S NOTE: John has previously written powerful opinion pieces on the R-word. Read one here.

6,801 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Ann Coulter

  1. Eloquent, thoughtful, and well written. My own prejudices have been revealed to me in that I found those three qualities surprising in an article written by someone with Down Syndrome. I have a lot to learn. Thank you for being a good teacher Mr. Stephens.

  2. Just an awesome rebuttal. As the step-parent of a mentally challenged youth who is forging ahead in the world, thank you.

  3. When I was 3 yrs old, my own grandmother labelled me with the “R” word because I didn’t talk. Later my parents discovered that I had a physical handicap that was overcome with speech therapy. Now you wouldn’t notice that I ever had any developmental delays as a child.

    That word still has the power to hurt me and others. Thank you for speaking out, and putting a positive spin on the “R” word.

  4. “No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.” Mr. Stephens, I think you said EVERYTHING there is to say in this one sentence. I hope that this is the one sentiment heard around the world. For anyone to be able to overcome and still love life so much – what a beautiful life that is.

  5. Pingback: Ann Coulter is ALL degrading nicknames | PacoTheSage

  6. Pingback: Is Ann Coulter A Bully? | Bully Prevention for Kids


  8. I don’t understand why people are down-playing the use of the R-word in what Ann Coulter said. Whatever the actual definition for “retard” might be, WE ALL KNOW that society has deemed it as an insult and always has. And please don’t sit there and pretend to not know what I’m talking about. Ann Coulter meant it as an insult, otherwise she wouldn’t have used that particular word. If she hadn’t meant it as an insult then her Tweet would have read like this: “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to [insert any other less insulting word].” But WE ALL KNOW what she meant by it.

  9. Despite the fact that I believe Americans are ready for a new president and a new path, I can say that as a Romney voter in a swingstate, I deplore what Ann Coulter said. But, to be fair folks, as we hopefully move our country back to the days of more prosperity and hope for all after this election, let us take the opportunity to call this type of nonsensical garbage out on both sides of the aisle — I.E. Van Jones, Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, and Chris Matthews. No more “r” words (including “racist”) to demonize your political opponents. This is my open comment with an open challenge to all.

    • It’s interesting that you felt the need to preface your statement of political beliefs with so many excuses. If someone is a racist, I fully intend to call them one. This, “But he said…!” is not an acceptable explanation for doing so yourself. Yes, “racist” is a terrible thing to be called. But not because it’s an uncalled-for insult or smear on your character. The fault is not with the person who called you a racist. The fault is with you for earning the name.

    • “racist” is not a slur. It’s an accurate descriptor of an alarming number of people and behaviors. If we demonize the word “racist” or “racism,” we are doomed to remain a racist country. I don’t support throwing it around as a political tool – but I fully support throwing it at racists.

    • Anyone who thinks that Romney will “move our country back to the days of more prosperity” is dreaming in technicolor. Just ask yourself, is he the champion for the middle class or the privileged class?

  10. Mr. Stephens,
    Thank you for your reply. Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. You have uplifted this childish drama without stooping to it’s level. Your generosity of heart is moving.

  11. Maybe, just maybe, Ann Coulter knows that “retarded” is not a word reserved for people with mental handicaps (or w/e the PC term this year is)

    From Merriam-Webster: retarded: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress.

    Sounds pretty spot on for Obama to me. He throws hissy fits, can’t function without someone writing his words out for him, and as for academic progress, well those records seem to have vanished.

    The word “retarded” does not belong to those who are handicapped, it is a scientific descriptor.

    • Chad
      You show that you have no idea who Obama is and show how igorant you are on this president. This president has never thrown a hissy fit. You want the truth the people that have thrown that have been republicans in congress, the ones who say that thier only goal was to defeat Obama. Meaning that were planning on standing in his way on getting anything done. Also you make up that BS excuse too, You do not use the R word on anyone is degrating period.

  12. John, I will keep your letter as example to follow.
    Your letter comes as a shining light of sense to those that cannot find ways other to solve their problems than using offensive language, threats, and violence.

    Thank you.
    I look forward to reading your posts!

  13. Well done! Kudos to you for taking the upper hand and inviting her to become a friend – it sounds like she could use some.

  14. I would like to commend Mr. Shephens for not stooping to her level. He showed grace and dignity where others may have lost their temper and in the end would therefore have become no better than Ms. Coulter.

  15. I find it really disgusting that people are trying to spin this into a conversation about abortion. This man is a champion, and a compassionate mold that every human being should aspire to, but do not try and take his momentum and funnel it into more political fuel.

    • Well I find it disgusting that we are more upset about the use of the word retard than we are about the fact that 90 percent of Down Syndrome babies are aborted. That you find making this point “disgusting” makes me think you are guilty of what I just mentioned. You are probably pro choice and as such you are offended about something that accuses you. THAT is DiSGUSTING

      • Are you sure about that 90 percent statistic? I know people abort handicapped children in utero, but I didn’t think it was that high. For the record, I find aborting for reasons like that wrong.

      • ANdee
        first here is a recent article saying that more children have been born with Downs, Prenatal diagnosis — the ability to diagnose abnormalities before a baby is born — is undergoing a revolution due to the recent arrival of tests that can accurately detect fetal genetic abnormalities, including Down syndrome, by testing the mother’s blood. For the past 30 years, obstetricians like me have used the mother’s age, ultrasound markers, and levels of certain blood chemicals to guess whether a fetus might have Down syndrome, or other genetic abnormalities. But it took an invasive test — an amniocentesis or a chorionic villus sampling — to be certain, and these tests occasionally caused miscarriage. It was an inexact guessing game that was extremely difficult to explain to patients.

        There are a host of reasons why patients and doctors want to know in advance whether a child will be affected by a large number of genetic diseases, but by far the most common concern patients have is whether their baby will have Down syndrome — a condition in which the child has an extra copy of chromosome 21 and will have cognitive impairment and be at risk for other abnormalities, from heart defects to leukemia to early dementia.

        The number of babies born every year affected with Down syndrome has increased slightly in the United States to about 6,000 annually.
        But there are really only two reasons why parents undergo testing to determine whether their baby will have Down syndrome: to prepare to raise a child with special needs, or to terminate the pregnancy. (Those of you who hold strong ‘pro-choice’ or ‘pro-life’ views are getting your hackles up, I know. So I’m going to go ahead and apologize in advance for ignoring your agendas entirely in this post.)

        The number of babies born in the United States each year affected with Down syndrome is the result of several factors, including the number of fetuses conceived that carry the third copy of chromosome 21 (older mothers are more likely to conceive Down syndrome-affected fetuses, and the childbearing population in the United States is aging), the percentage of pregnant mothers who choose to test for Down syndrome, and the percentage of women who learn they are carrying a fetus affected with Down syndrome who choose to terminate. Fetuses affected with Down syndrome are more likely to miscarry than normal fetuses, but this hasn’t changed over time.

        Interestingly, the number of babies born every year affected with Down syndrome has increased slightly in the United States to about 6,000 annually according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), even as the trends I just mentioned have swung dramatically.

        A recent article in Prenatal Diagnosis provides the best glimpse into the choices women made about abortion for Down syndrome over the past couple of decades, and the authors’ conclusions are that fewer women who learn their fetus has Down syndrome are opting to terminate their pregnancy, and the percentage has probably declined over time to someplace between 60 and 90 percent. The conventional wisdom, based on a paper in the same journal from 1999, was that over 90 percent of Down syndrome-affected pregnancies were terminated, although the current paper casts doubt that the percentage was ever that high.

        So what’s going on? If the abortion rate is declining, why isn’t the number of babies born with Down syndrome rapidly increasing? Several factors are at play:

        The number of babies born to Hispanic women is increasing, and Hispanic women are least likely to terminate a fetus affected with Down syndrome.
        It used to be that women had to make a conscious decision to have the test for Down syndrome, and the women who chose to be tested were probably more likely to terminate if the series of tests was positive. Due to guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, more and more women are getting tested for Down syndrome, perhaps including more women who don’t terminate their pregnancy when the test comes back positive.
        However, since women who don’t get the Down syndrome tests can’t terminate for this reason (because they never find out their fetus is affected), and more women are being tested, the overall number of terminations for Down syndrome may have increased.
        Perhaps the most important factor is a sea change in society’s approach to individuals with Down syndrome. Explains lead author of the recent paper, Jaime L. Natoli, a senior consultant in the department of clinical analysis at the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, in response to emailed questions: “Families have significantly more educational, social, and financial support than they had in the past. For example, from a social standpoint, women of childbearing age are from perhaps the first generation who grew up in an era where individuals with Down syndrome were in their schools or daycare centers — perhaps not the mainstream integration that we see today, but still a level of exposure that was very different than in generations prior. They grew up watching kids with Down syndrome on Sesame Street.”

        What will the impact of these new tests be on the number of babies born with Down syndrome, since it is now easier to make a diagnosis without risking miscarriage? Says Natoli, “I cannot predict if the termination rate will go up, down, or stay the same. A lot of people think it will go up, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it went down.”

        My guess is that new tests will have little impact. They are much easier to understand than the old ones, and eventually insurance companies will pay for them for most women. I suspect that in 10 years most women carrying a fetus affected with Down syndrome will receive a diagnosis early in their pregnancy. This will mean that more women will have to make the gut-wrenching decision about whether to continue the pregnancy or abort. And I predict that the number of babies born affected with Down syndrome will stay about the same.
        Also you want to know the truth, here it is, first we need to keep places like PP open so people would know about birth control and also educate people about people with Downs, but even with that we need to educate people about using the R word. Also personally to me I am pro-choice which means I think life starts at birth. So truth is that is a women’s decision, but I think that would come down by doctors educating women. Also I do not listen to people on subjects that think that we need to end screening for prenatel that are in important, like this article explains Which would be totally fine if babies were delivered via stork, but in the real world, pre-natal screening is a pretty important component of the pregnant woman’s health and the future baby’s health. Santorum doesn’t like it, though, because abortion (that, by the way, should be Santorum’s campaign slogan — “Rick Santorum: Because Abortion.”

        The government should never require health care providers to fully cover the cost of prenatal testing such as amniocentesis, which can determine the possibility of Down syndrome or other problems in the fetus, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said Sunday.

        In particular, amniocentesis “more often than not” results in abortion, said Santorum, a strident anti-abortion politician, on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

        “People have a right to do it, but to have the government force people to provide it free just is a bit loaded,” Santorum said in arguing against what he called a mandate in the health care reform bill passed by President Barack Obama and Democrats in 2010.

        Santorum was responding to questions about comments he made the day before at a Christian Alliance luncheon in Columbus, Ohio, in which he said the mandate in the health care law was intended to increase abortions and reduce overall health care costs.

        “One of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America,” Santorum said. “Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free pre-natal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.”

        In the Ohio remarks, Santorum added the mandate was “another hidden message as to what President Obama thinks of those who are less able.”

        Actually, it sends a pretty clear message that Rick Santorum knows next to nothing about pregnancy and women’s health, and sees the whole world through abortion-colored glasses (also, Santorum isn’t exactly a disability-rights champion himself).

        Yes, prenatal screening does test for Down syndrome and trisomy 18. But amniocentesis does not “more often than not” result in abortion — not even close. It also tests for a variety of other conditions, and can help to identify potential complications so that women can have healthier pregnancies. If there’s a medical condition that necessitates treatment or surgery during or after pregnancy, it gives doctors and families the information they need. Yes, it can also ID conditions that lead some women to choose to terminate. But for the women who choose to continue pregnancies with fetal complications, it offers time to prepare for a child with special needs, or a stillbirth. It can make pregnancy and delivery safer.

        In other words, it’s a necessary part of health care for women and babies. And the fact that Santorum wants to cut pre-natal testing demonstrates a real hostility not to abortion, but to women’s he When an abnormality is discovered in a fetus, doctors are obligated by their professional oaths to fully inform the parents of what the abnormality means and what their options are. Very, very few doctors flat-out urge an abortion, except in cases where the abnormality has the potential to damage the mother in some way. Santorum accused American women of aborting 90% of all Down’s Syndrome babies. He left out a few statistics, the way he left out real research on same-sex parenting in his tearful presentation on the Senate floor during the DOMA debate.

        The Alan Guttmacher Institute compiles abortion statistics. What they have found over two decades of this is very relevant to Santorum’s misuse of statistics. First of all, there is the gestational age at which Down’s Syndrome can be detected. It is between 10 and 20 weeks of gestational age, using a series of tests, not just a single test. Sixty percent of all abortions are performed before the eighth week of gestational age, when the fetus is about the size of a kidney bean. Around 75% of all abortions are performed before the thirteenth week, the end of the first trimester, when abortions are supposed to be purely elective. Of the remaining 25% of abortions performed after thirteen weeks (40% after eight weeks) less than 13% nationally are performed because of all fetal abnormalities. One-half a percent are performed for rape, one-half a percent for incest and the rest, 86% of all abortions are performed for social reasons – immaturity of the parents, economics, unmarried status, interference with education or career plans, too many children already, hiding sexual activity from fanatical families. Yes, Santorum is right, between 87% and 98% of Down’s Syndrome children are aborted, but no one has compiled statistics on why parents choose that path. Raising a special needs child requires a great deal of maturity and a very reliable support system. But ending prenatal testing is not the answer. A better support system for the parents of Down’s Syndrome children is. We no longer warehouse Down’s Syndrome children the way we did thirty years ago. We expect parents to bear the emotional and financial burdens of caring for disabled children, often with insufficient assistance.

        There is an enormous black hole in American assistance programs – people who earn too much to get help but too little to do it properly on their own. With an income in excess of $900,000 a year on a single wage-earner, the Santorums fall into the “earn enough to support a disabled child” range. They have no idea what it is like to be in the hole. Santorum is also ignoring the range of disability in mentally disabled children, from children with IQs just slightly below average, children who can actually integrate into mainstream schools and go to college and have jobs all the way to children who are so severely and profoundly disabled they are barely above a vegetative state.

        While living in Florida, I was certified as a substitute for disabled classes. I have seen the way one of the best school systems educates the mentally disabled. I have worked with these children. He has no idea the kinds of issues facing the parents of Down’s children, not least of which is having children who are mentally five years old but have fully matured bodies, children who are easily persuaded into sexual activity with no idea of consequences. He should spend a day in a school for the mentally disabled, dealing with a 6’2″ 17-year-old boy dressed in sweats who has an erection that lasts way more than four hours, or drive a disabled bus and have to stop because a very pretty 15-year-old girl is in the back row collecting pennies to feel her naked breasts. He should try communicating with a Downs child who is also blind or deaf or both. Or spend his days changing the diapers of the severely and profoundly disabled.

        Santorum should go grocery shopping sometime. Many stores work with their communities to provide jobs for educable and trainable disabled students. There, he could see what a fine line has to be walked with so many of these children, not just those with Down’s Syndrome, but autistic teens as well. There is more involved than just IQ levels. There are emotional issues as well, issues that can turn a bagger into a sobbing baby with the most casual word or have an autistic child panic when accidently touched.

        Maybe he should change places with the woman who chooses to have that child, only to have her husband walk away and disappear so that she can’t even get child support from him. That happens too many times. The challenges for the parent or parents of a Down child are enormous, and any parent or parents willing to take on those challenges are to be praised and supported in any way society can. Too many of them are left to fend for themselves, living in school systems that don’t have adequate services for them, living in communities that lack adequate in-home assistance, unable to even get someone to babysit for a few hours of respite. Too many fall into the black hole for assistance.

        Santorum’s view, in fact the view of most anti-abortion activists, is that abortion is a cavalier choice made by selfish people. It isn’t. There are some women who casually treat abortion as birth control, but for most it is a choice of last resort, when no other options viably present themselves. It is a heart and soul tearing decision.

        The Santorums, like the Duggars, have turned their personal pain from a miscarriage into a fanatical rejection of options, both in preventing pregnancy and in terminating pregnancies, a fanaticism that Santorum wants to turn into civil, secular law.

        Rick Santorum knows that the more fanatical positions he has taken on social issues will defeat him in a general election, so when he goes on television shows in the mainstream media, away from Fox News and his campaign rallies, he shades his positions, “clarifies” what he has said, changes those positions outright when needed. So, he has two platforms – one for the primary audience and one for the general public.

        Rick Santorum is the end product of a callous and vicious game by the Republican Party, whose real agenda is to establish one-party rule for their corporate sponsors. They have used social issues grounded in extreme religious views to rile up the base and get voters to the polls. They have admitted to putting same-sex marriage issues on ballots just to gin up voter turnout. Their party’s establishment doesn’t really care about these issues, but they are willing to use them to get power. They play games with statistics and perceptions to prevent their base from seeing the realities of these issues, realities that lay behind much of the progress made on them – women dead from illegal abortions or not being able to get abortions, women who suffer with the decision, women who died young because their bodies were so depleted by continual childbirth, the emotional price of white marriages entered into by closeted gays to hide their gayness, the very normal lives lived by most gays, the physical attacks on gays, the suicide rate. Well, now they have Santorum up in their faces with his extremist views. Now, they get to reap what they have sown.

        Santorum is gaining momentum partly because of his so-called Christian values and partly because he has decided to present himself as a variation on Loretta Lynn – “my grandfather was a coal miner” is playing very well. I’m waiting for the person who tells him that granddad would not have lived beyond 40 if it weren’t for the miners unions that fought for safety in the mines. He’s also gaining because he’s “more authentic” than Mitt Romney. The worst quote to come out of a Santorum rally was the thirty-something man who told a reporter that he has no idea what Santorum stands for, he just likes his personality. That is scary, seriously scary. It’s enough to make one wish that native born Americans had to take the same civics test that immigrants take before they could vote. Maybe then people would understand that we are not, never have been and never should be a theocracy.
        So sorry this is fixed by educating people not taking not geting rid of abortions. Sorry but this just makes me more pro-choice.

  16. John, You are a beautiful man with beautiful words. I am in tears, not because I am sad that people like Ms. Coulter still use such hateful language because that, unfortunately, will never end, but because you have shown us how to rise above hate and respond with love.

      • Calling a President who graudate from harvard, aka a Ivy league that even me who just has a lreaning disablity could not get into. Neverless a person that has Downs is not comparing anything.

    • You are a jerk for even saying that. I would rather use another word for you but jerk will do for now. I pity the people that surround you because I’m sure you enjoy belittling them like you are doing by writing this. Grow up and act like a man that actually has feelings and put yourself in this young gentleman’s shoes. I am sure your parents have taught you to think before you open your mouth (and think before you put things in writing)! I’m sure they are proud of what you just did – picking on someone who is handicapped. Also, just because you wrote “nice letter” does not erase what you wrote following that. As a sister to a younger brother with Down Syndrome, I will always be the one that stands proudly next to him (and anyone else that is handicapped) and I will defend them to the very end from people like you that take little jabs at other people’s expense.

  17. I have a beautiful young daughter too with DS. All i can say is you did a GREAT job… AS i read tears fell.. Thanks for standing up…. You are a Hero. : )

  18. Keep moving forward. Good luck at the Special Olympics. Go show the world you are able not disabled. Politics in the US have reached an all time low. Continue on the high road and continue to educate people like Ms Coulter.

  19. Thanks for standing up. Some of the kindest people I know have some sort of disability. One of my friends in high school was a girl with Down’s syndrome and she was very sweet and thoughtful. Our school made sure she had the opportunity to play music in the band with the rest of us; I am a better person because I knew her and her mom (who would come and help sometimes).
    We need more people like you – ones who come from a position where words mean something because there’s thought behind them.

  20. Funny how all of you attacking Ann kept silent while Obama derided Special Olympics bowlers a few years back. Funny how you are silent while Obama supports killing babies with Downs Syndrome or just for their sex. I am more offended by Obama and his stances than I am Ann Coulter’s words. I spent years as a Special Olympics coach, local coordinator and area director and state sport director. This is just another case of liberals who cannot respond to facts so they manufacture outrage. Retarded is a word that was around long before it’s use for people. It means slow. Quit with the false outrage because you have no other arguments of substance for Obama and more importantly, quit using Special Olympians for you liberal political agenda. You just show that you are users and manipulators and nothing more.

    • Please try and be a little more specific. Liberal is a quality that spans many many many different people in different jobs, and income brackets, and more differences than I can put into words. Just the same as conservative. If you have a problem with Obama and his policies, that is your problem with Obama, but to be completely honest I can probably bring up a list 100 pages long of things put into law by any politician in America that would have you in an outrage, Republican or Democrat. You brought up politics, so I’m playing politics, but do not think just because Ann Coulter is a women with traditional values that she is any less guilty than Obama for her remarks. Bigotry is a very poor stain on a man’s reputation, political, social, or otherwise. Don’t swing liberal around like people sling other slurs.

    • Hey genius, this is not “another case of liberals who cannot respond to facts so they manufacture outrage.” It is similar to Sarah Palin’s outrage when the word was used during her campaign, and reminders like these are necessary for idiots who continue to think it’s okay to use it in derogatory ways. Too bad you don’t understand basic human decency.

    • Great reply, Coach!
      This a ridiculous rant about nothing substantive! Liberals love to jump on anything like this to avoid talking about the real issues that should be discussed.

      • @Dan, this isn’t about politics or partisan behavior but about someone in the public eye using derogatory terms and bullying others, specifically challenged folks who overcome societal hurdles on a daily basis.

    • President Obama apologized almost immediately after he made that disparaging comment, Ann Coulter will never apologize for the hateful vitriol that spews from her foul mouth. It is patently false that the president desires in any way shape or form, the killing of babies with Downs Syndrome or for their sex. Where did you even get that? Oh, because he supports a woman’s right to choose, and sadly, someone will choose to abort a fetus that has a mental disability (in reality, this almost never happens and I’ve yet to hear of anyone in this country who had an abortion because of the sex of the baby), that choice by that woman is not the fault or concern of the president.
      You and Ann Coulter deserve each, both of you are hateful, ignorant fools, who will repeat whatever lies are presented to you by Fox News.

      • KIm
        I wish people would get that if they cannot stand aborations, espically if they are pro-life, than they need to be champoins of birth control and contrciptions. I am someone that believes that life begins at birth and until than the fetus is just part of a mothers body. Also I had a aunt that had to abort a child because it would not have survived outside the womb, I full pro-choice, so trust me I do not get thier agrument at all.

    • Wow, so you now decide when and where the word “retarded” can or cannot be used because of your “credentials” as a coach? Society decides what meaning words have (see gay for historical reference) and society and those who continue to learn and grow change with it.
      You seem very bitter coach, you have some good points but your reference to killing babies etc. really takes away from your arguments.

    • Former coach- I am saddened by your comments. You have tried to take something that was made to raise awareness for Special Olympics into a political stance. Just because in the past people used the “R” word, does not mean it is acceptable now. Many athletes have been hurt by this word and they are trying to stand up for them selves and let society know the reasons, only to have someone they at some point felt like they trusted not understand. If you want to complain about Obama, find a different platform. This has nothing to do with politics. Your response was like stating that she was wrong to say that, but there is someone who is more wrong. That is not the point. This athlete is simply trying to hold someone accountable for their actions. Period.

    • It’s clear to see why you are a “former coach”. That term should never be used for a human being. And Obama does not “support” the aborting of any children, he supports the rights of women to control their own bodies. There is a huge difference which you are obviously to dim to recongnize.

    • I don’t think everyone went silent when Obama made that gaffe. Ann repeatedly does this crap all the time. All parties should dissociate from her. She’s ridiculous.

    • you are missing the point and trying to use this venue to push your own political agenda. yes liberals and conservatives use inappropriate language, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be called out for their misuse and generic categorization. that is what politics are in essence, our first amendment rights allow us to question injustices anywhere. just because a word has been in use a long time, doesn’t make its meaning appropriate, especially when the word is being used out of context, as a synonym for something bad.

    • Former Coach
      Thanks for showing that you do not know how to pay attention. This was all over the news, just google like I did and you find story after story on it. Also Obama apologized for it on Leno and on the phone to Tim Shiver. Thanks for showing that all you care about is embarrassing yourself.

  21. Ann you are pedestalled as being a “brilliant” woman, like when you supported Christy… Having a son in Special Olympics, I am always amazed at what I learn from these very special human beings. I remember once a player was hit by a ball while in the outfield. Both teams immediately ran to check the injured player’s condition and after being assured their fellow player was OK, the “At Bat” team returned to the batting line. Not one was in their original place in the lineup, and not one of them cared! You will never see that level of human spirit from Obama (or any other communist) who would sit and watch his ambassador murdered, refuse to call in help, and then go to bed so he was rested for a fund raiser the following day while the rest are being killed. And you compare these spectacular human beings with special needs to such a low life cheating, lying, piece of human excrement as Obama?!?!! I could go on but Ann, it’s not the mistakes we make, it’s how we atone for them… The ball is in your court!

  22. John, I think all anyone has to do is listen to Anne Coulter for about 30 seconds – on ANY subject – and then read your letter. That will be plenty to determine who the “R-word” is and who’s the better human being. Honestly, you waste your obvious and infinitely valuable intelligence on a troglodyte like Coulter. She’s one of those horribly limited creatures who never questions her own conclusions and wouldn’t understand why she’s so abysmally wrong if you explained it to her in words of one syllable. Ultimately, she’s a sideshow of this ear; one of those magpies who will be forgotten two seconds after she’s dead and gone.

  23. To use the term “retard” today reflects poorly on oneself and shows a lack of enlightenment. To use it as an insult is no better. It is equivalent to using the “N” word. Let’s show our fellow man some respect and in the process show ourselves some self-respect.

  24. Mr. Stephens;
    Your grace and strength are amazing. Coulter may have used the word ‘retard’ as an insult; you have just turned it into a word of honor. Thank you, I do not know how it could have been expressed better.

  25. Anne Coulter isn’t dumb or shallow? Thats news to me.

    Whats truly saddening, is the comments here telling John he’s wrong, that Coulter isn’t a bully who uses name calling to make a point, rather then acting like an adult, and he should get over it. Thats whats truly sad.

  26. Reading this letter from John Franklin Stephens, who seems to be a wise man, I was reminded of the words of another very wise man:
    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
    Thank you Mr. Stephens for rising above. You are a stronger, more wise man than many. When I saw that Tweet from Ann Coulter, I was filled with anger. It seems many have been filled with anger over her misguided, ignorant statement. You have shown me an alternative to my anger.
    Thanks you!

  27. I am so proud to be sharing this spinning orb called Earth with people like John Franklin Stephens! I am, however, wondering why the word, (and I can’t believe that I’m actually going to type it), RETARD is still tossed around freely as a descriptor of people. It is an old word with degrading intent. I recoil whenever I hear it…because I have been labelled as such myself too many times to count. It hurts for me…just imagine being someone like John!?!?! Please talk to people you know about this word and STOP using it in your everyday list of words. To quote Cher…”Words are like weapons…they wound sometimes”!

    PS…I’m a former Special Olympics coach!

  28. Pingback: Ann Coulter’s backward use of the ‘r-word’ – NewsWeekin News

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