Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Free Landis or is Bob Dylan going to write a new propaganda song?

They want the public to raise $2 million to help defend Landis? As Hernando pointed out its not like most of us know him, it's very similar to the "Believe Tyler" campaign, why should we believe him...... because we have think is a good clean cut boy from MA.....or he is hardworking guy who grew up a the "simple and pure" Mennonite community? The reality is that very few of us actually "know" these, or any, professional athletes or have any "real" insight into if they are capable of cheating.

So why is our job to fund their defense? Because we or fans of the sport? Because we want a clean sport where cheaters are punished and the clean are free to race on an even playing field. IMHO we wont achieve this through the defense of our perceived "clean" heroes (guilty or innocent) rather we should support changes to the "institution" .... I'm not claiming to have the answer but I do understand that as it stands today winning is still ultimately what is rewarded, both by sponsors in terms of dollars and by fans in terms of loyalty. You may disagree that winning affects fan loyalty, but it seems the average fan is more willing to accept a middle of the pack rider or rival stars, rather then their hero, are doping. Can you imagine the uproar in the US if Lance would have been excluded from the tour under the same circumstantial evidence Basso, Ulrich, et al. were? Until there is a fundamental shift in this paradigm little, if nothing, will change.

How much do I care, a bit, but I'm not really in the position to exert much pressure on the system at least on the pro tour dont buy tickets to a pro-tour race (I more or less wont to buy tickets for pro football, baseball, basketball or hockey both because I think they are overpaid and I usually dont think its good entertainment value for the dollar) and most of the sponsors are not products I purchase, though a Rabobank opened in town. On the continental level its a little different...I know one or two people "in the bike biz" well enough that I feel I "know" they are clean (though I could be wrong) and I enjoy cheering them on ... even if we are talking about a top 20 at CX natz (go AFM) versus competing for national or international wins. In addition I can support sponsors who support clean riders (like Sierra Nevada Brewing or Kodak).

I understand wanting to have a connection to a athlete or a team in a sport you follow is human nature but we should understand where perceptions and loyalty end and reality begins. We are not personally responsible for the problems of individual athletes nor do we personally benefit from their triumphs. In this case I dont think Landis needs a grass roots movement with its own propaganda song......there are plenty of more important issues facing the world today...


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