(CBS SF / CNN) — Three-time Olympic volleyball gold medalist and South Bay native Kerri Walsh Jennings is facing a wave of criticism after she said she went to the grocery store without a mask.

Jennings, who grew up in Saratoga and graduated Stanford University to became one of the most dominant volleyball players to ever compete, posted on Instagram that she went shopping without a face covering and called it “a little exercise in being brave.”

“I went shopping without a mask on & this is why,” Jennings wrote on Instagram. “I read a quote the other day that shook me – – THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO.”

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This is going to be a long post & it’s going to upset some people. My intention is NEVER to hurt or disrespect. Please know that. I am working my way through these curious times that have me questioning everything. I am wanting to lead & stand for my beliefs WITHOUT upsetting people but, per usual when one takes a stand, this is unlikely. If this hurts or upsets you, I am sorry. I am working through my thoughts & my way throughout the madness of 2020. I am wanting to be a light, an encourager of the strength + resilience within each of us and I aspire to be someone whom empowers others to take ownership of all sides of their lives. There is freedom & deep satisfaction in living this way. I want this for everyone. Here we go …. I had a little exercise in being brave yesterday & I’m still a bit edgy about it. I went shopping without a mask on 😬😳🤭 & this is why … I read a quote the other day that shook me – – THIS HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED, IT’S BEEN CONSENTED TO. This statement woke me up & the truth of it has had me obsessing on the matter of how I can mindfully & compassionately stand up for my rights & for the freedoms our constitution has granted us all WITHOUT being reckless or putting anyone else in danger. We are all endlessly complaining about the restrictive & arbitrarily selective rules that we are being strongly “suggested” to follow & yet we are all consenting; Not much of a fight, just a lot of complaining & strongly disagreeing with this manipulation, but we keep consenting. It’s maddening. It has crushed our society, people’s livelihoods, our children’s spirits, & the fabric of our world. We have become a country & a world estranged from each other & it is more deeply unhealthy than any virus could ever be. I know people are getting sick & many have gone to Heaven. I have lived through a lot of loss in my family, in my life. I cherish life. I would never downplay the impact of a single loss of life. That is it’s own conversation & my heart goes out to all those suffering poor health, the loss of a loved one and the fear that the reaction to & media coverage of COVID-19 has created in your days. Cont. in comments ….

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Jennings said that statement “woke me up,” and that she wanted to stand up for her rights and freedoms without being reckless or putting others in danger.

A representative for Jennings did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The move goes against what’s recommended in preventing the spread of the coronavirus by numerous public health experts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that face coverings are meant to protect other people in case that person is infected, unknowingly or not. And White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said, “We know now there’s scientific evidence that masks both keep you from infecting others but may also partially protect you from getting infected.”

Jennings faced quick backlash, with one user responding to her post: “I’m a nurse and all healthcare workers are reusing PPE and we don’t have routine access to testing. We put ourselves at risk daily to care for patients the least that everyone else can do is social distance and wear a mask in public.”

Another user wrote, “This is incredibly selfish and ignorant.”

“To those I’ve upset so deeply, I am sorry,” Jennings wrote in a follow up post.

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My goodness gracious. To those I’ve upset so deeply, I am sorry. To those who are open to hearing where I am coming from, I appreciate your openness and civility. To those in agreement, I appreciate you expressing your views. To those calling me dumb, selfish, privileged, bigoted, and racist and telling me that “you are better than this”, I fully acknowledge that addressing such an emotional, layered, nuanced and polarizing topic on social media was not the smartest thing …. pages and pages could be written about every side of everyone’s opinion, yet I went for it because I am alarmed for my country – I am heartbroken for my children – I am devastated for every small business owner who has gone under or who is barely hanging on – I have seen so much conflicting and erroneous data from the experts – and on and on and on – I have researched and I have spoken with experts …. This is why I spoke my point of view. At some point we should all stop and take inventory of everything that has been thrown our way over the past months and the reaction/ to these things. If it sits well or well enough with you, great. If not, great. We should all carry on RESPECTFULLY living our virtues, standing up for our beliefs and doing our best to do no harm in doing so. I was not looking to do anything but express my belief that FREEDOM IS RIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR, and amidst the chaos, divisiveness, fear and undeniable emotion of these times, I believe we have to stay mindful of the FACT that our freedoms have slowly been taken from us with our consent. I feel each of the words I mentioned above (fear/chaos/divisiveness) are being intentionally stoked and we are becoming a country that I do not recognize. The comment section of my last post is a reflection of where we are at and it is …. tragic. I’m not quite sure when we became a world where a differing opinion equates to evil and hatred, but here we are. I am not advocating for people to stop wearing masks. I wear a mask most often. I don’t believe in their efficacy unless it’s of a certain caliber, yet I wear them. I am advocating critical thinking and civility. I am advocating personal responsibility. Cont. below

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“To those who are open to hearing where I am coming from, I appreciate your openness and civility. To those in agreement, I appreciate you expressing your views. To those calling me dumb, selfish, privileged, bigoted, and racist and telling me that ‘you are better than this,’ I fully acknowledge that addressing such an emotional, layered, nuanced and polarizing topic on social media was not the smartest thing.”

Jennings has recently announced that she is leaving her home in California — the state now leading the country with at least 741,726 Covid-19 cases. California has a statewide face mask mandate, which has been in effect since June 18.

There are at least 6,306,412 coronavirus cases in the United States, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. There are concerns that the country will see a surge in cases following Labor Day weekend celebrations, similar to the surges the country experienced following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

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