A video of Keaton Jones, an 11-year-old from Tennessee, took off on social media as the weeping boy described being bullied by other kids. It was so powerful it attracted the attention and support from athletes across the country, including Dale Earnhart Jr. and John Hunter Nemecheck.
But with notoriety comes scrutiny. Various media outlets posted a photo of Jones’ and his mother, Kimberly Jones, with a Confederate flag, and that set off all sorts of alarm bells. The photo has since been removed from Facebook, but Kimberly Jones went on CBS This Morning to defend herself and keep the focus on her son.
“The only two photos — the only two photos on my entire planet that I am anywhere near a Confederate flag. It was ironic. It was funny,” Jones said in the above.
“It didn’t have anything to do with racist intent?” Strassmann asked.
“No. No. Absolutely not. I’ve said I spent most of my life being bullied and judged because I wasn’t racist,” Jones said.
The incident has placed a spotlight on the issue of bullying, and Keaton Jones received a lot of support after the gut-wrenching video made its debut.
Dale Jr. Tweeted about the video and offered his friendship to the kid who’s obviously going through tough times.
Keaton Jones attends Horace Maynard Middle School in Matnardville, TN. Keaton’s mother recorded this video after picking him up early from school. Jones reportedly was scared to go to lunch after he said bullies at his school poured milk on him, shoved lunch meat down his clothes, and told him he was ugly.
?They make fun of my nose. They call me ugly. They say I have no friends,” he said in the emotional video with tears streaming down his cheek.. ?Why do they bully? What?s the point of it? Why do you find joy in taking innocent people and finding a way to be mean to them? People that are different don?t need to be criticized about it. It?s not their fault.?
Since being posted, the video has been viewed more than 20 million times on Facebook and a GoFundMe campaign was created to help with his future college expenses, which has already gathered approximately $20,000 in donations, according to SB Nation.
Besides Dale. Jr., a number of other sports figures have expressed their support of Jones, including fellow NASCAR driver John Hunter Nemechek?.
NASCAR has a reputation for being a tight-knit family, so it’s nice to see drivers treat Jones like one of their own during his time of need.