Reeva Steenkamp’s boyfriend attracted attention because he matched with nondisabled expectations of what disability can and should be. And he was used, ruthlessly, as a tool for beating disabled people; if he can do it, so can you. Go watch him and learn from his amazing feats. Revel in the fact that a man born with congenital disabilities can run on two legs ‘just like a normal person.’
Shocked by the revelation that disabled people can actually be abusive assholes too, the nondisabled community has lashed out in confusion and bitter outrage. Suddenly their poster child, their supercrip, has been turned into yet another athlete caught up in a sordid and unpleasant domestic violence scandal, with a side of murder; possibly cold-blooded murder, according to some accounts. This upends everything they think about athletes, and about disabled people. They were the ones who put him on a pedestal, and they were the ones faced with figuring out how to take him off it again after learning who he truly was.