Brazilian football star Neymar has come under fire over an insensitive tweet comparing himself to the late Stephen Hawking.
Neymar appeared to be attempting to draw a parallel between his rehab from a broken right foot and the lifelong battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that legendary physicist Hawking lost on Wednesday.
Not long after news of Hawking’s death circumnavigated the globe, Neymar figured it was a good time to post a picture of himself laughing in a wheelchair with the caption quoting the cosmologist: “One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in.”
The rest of that quote reads: “If one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well.”
Você tem que ter uma atitude positiva e tirar o melhor da situação na qual se encontra.— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking pic.twitter.com/JE2MtyuT6b
Hawking refused to let a debilitating disease rob the world of his brilliant mind.
Neymar, who is expected to be in uniform when the Brazilian national team takes the pitch at the World Cup in Russia this summer, would have been wise to heed the second portion of Hawking’s advice.
Needless to say, the Paris Saint-Germain forward did not escape criticism:
Think before you tweet, folks.
Neymar cannot be your favorite footballer anymore: he used the death of Stephen Hawking and his disability to publicize his recovery for a broken leg. Repulsive.— Mikala Paula (@mikalapaula) March 14, 2018
Eddie Redmayne stars as Neymar in "The Theory Of Everything Is About Me"— David Rudin (@DavidSRudin) March 14, 2018
It’s the height of self-centeredness to put Hawking’s death in terms of yourself. Neymar’s temporary wheelchair situation is profoundly minor compared to the lifetime wheelchair situation Hawking had. I’m sure Neymar meant no harm, but come on.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 14, 2018
Neymar usually seems to get social media. This is not one of those times. https://t.co/A0YnRjmtaR— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 14, 2018
Neymar there, with his sore metatarsal and sprained ankle, marking Stephen Hawking's death by cheerily comparing himself to quadriplegic Stephen Hawking 🤦 pic.twitter.com/f9bkh5AEhb— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) March 14, 2018
Neymar, what are you doing? Sincerely, everyonehttps://t.co/udhffYHZDY— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) March 14, 2018
Great to see Neymar drawing inspiration from Stephen Hawking as he adjusts to living his life with a sore ankle for a few weeks. https://t.co/VogGFNBI7j— Si Lloyd (@SmnLlyd5) March 14, 2018
Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while working under the shadow of a likely premature death, died at 76.
He died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement.
"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
"His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world."