Mark Cavendish has been a bad, bad boy. After directing ITV to “F*ck off” at his new team launch earlier this week, he proceeded with worse.
“Can you get him away, please. Please get this guy away. He just wants to talk about Lance, fuck off.”
I’m sorry Mark, I must apologize we removed you from an interview about your brilliant self and wanted your opinion on only the most important drug scandal the sport world has ever seen.
As professional cyclists, responsibility in hard times, like now, is of key importance. Leaders of any sport faced with controversy have the inherent right and the predetermined requirement to give advice to the public, nurture the sport through rolling hills of public doubt, and if nothing else merely entertain the enquiries put forth by each interviewer about serious matters.
We shouldn’t become too caught up in the egoism of the best-in-the-world sprinter or his stratospheric levels of impatience, they have too often been put on show in the past.
I’m not saying let’s give up on Cry Baby Cav, but for now just rise above and determine what it is we expect from other pros around the world, whether they be tennis players or professional Eskimo fishermen.
It must certainly start with patience and respect to the fans and if all else fails we’ll have them sit in the naughty corner for a day.
It’s important to remember in anything done in life, you must not assume prior knowledge of others. Assumption is the mother of all stuff-ups. Assuming Weekend Warrior cyclists don’t care about the Lance saga because you (the big professional racer) don’t, is ignorant and ill minded.
Similarly, to dictate what a journalist can or cannot investigate based on questions you have answered previously screams immaturity through intolerance.
Repetition surely can wear a man thin, a professional sportsperson won’t only face the same training challenges over and over but will absorb their fair share of reused and recycled questions too. Different news agencies want to know the same thing at different times, but that is a part of the job.
I have to fill out a monotonously bureaucratic customs forms every time I fly into or out of Australia, even though the government has had my email address and emergency contact for 10 years now, but I don’t flip it and tell people to “Intercourse off!”
Impatience isn’t a virtue that has benefits in being shown publically. Cadel Evans learnt that the hard way in 2008 but lightened up with a humorous and philanthropic business venture shortly after (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/evans-sells-don’t-stand-on-my-dog-t-shirts).
Cycling is having a tough time at the moment, and silence doesn’t help the situation. As Lance Armstrong’s interview has shown, raw openness and respect to the public is the best possible way to attack an issue so systemic to a sport.
Lance has confronted the issue after years of build-up and regardless of the stigma and lead-in to the event, he has finally spoken out with seeming objectivity, without blaming others, and has faced the music.
If nothing else this shows confidence is given to a sport through public comprehension and relativity. Role models of each occupation around the world, not just sports, must give confidence and encouragement in tough times, not just directions of ‘where to go’.
Elite athletes need to remove themselves from their own priorities and go out of their ways to help Joe Citizen understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the sport that built up their fame and fortune.