Maj. Gen. John R. Evans tweeted seemingly disparaging remarks about mourning the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant this morning, suggesting attention would be better paid instead to the death of Spc. Antonio Moore, 22, who died in Syria supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Evans’ tweet read, “Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I’ll use my energy to remember Moore and his Family. #RIP.” He later made an attempt to correct this original post after receiving backlash for this insensitive comment toward Bryant — one of nine people killed in a fatal helicopter crash that occurred on Sunday.
Two days prior, Moore was involved in a vehicle rollover accident during his first deployment since enlisting in May 2017.
Responses on Twitter consisted of comments questioning Evans’ empathy, condemning him for not respecting both of the lives recently lost and contributing to the widening of the civilian-military divide.
“General, grief is not comparable and each loss is significant,” wrote Joe Plenzler, a former Marine. “Why diminish one to elevate another? That seems awfully petty to me and incongruent with Army values.”
Evans’ amendement read, “Allow me to Retweet my original Tweet in the SPIRIT for which it was intended: ‘Lots of people mourning a basketball player this morning. I think I’ll use my energy to ALSO remember Spc. Moore and his Family.’ I meant no disrespect to the families of the nine who were lost.”
Despite this attempt to address the reactions to his initial post, Evans continues to receive negative comments criticizing the intent of his tweet.
In response to the situation, Lt. Col. Nichole Downs, a spokeswoman for Army Cadet Command said, “United States Army Cadet Command sends it thoughts of comfort and condolences to all the grieving families. As we mourn the losses of a basketball legend and of a Soldier who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this great Nation. We believe everybody’s life has value and that all loss of life tragic. Since we tend to connect to celebrities more, we have a tendency to forget about others who are just as important. There was no disrespect meant towards the families of the nine that were lost.”
Olivia is a reporting Intern for Military Times, and a junior Communication student at George Mason University.