T&F Athletes To Unionize


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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:58 pm

tandfman wrote:
guru wrote: Despite Khadevis Robinson's protestations that work stoppages are not what this is about, at some point they're going to have to back up their demands with action should those demands fall on deaf ears. And that's boycotting an IAAF meet like the world championships.

I would find that hard to imagine, given the prize money structure at the World Championships, which the athletes know is the richest of any track meet in the world.



They also know it's the place the IAAF will take the biggest hit, if they(the IAAF) choose to fight. Most, if not all, of the athletes that would be likely to be in the money can probably afford to miss one paycheck, especially if they more than make up for it in the end.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby gh » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:08 pm

The problem there becomes that as soon as the "first-level" athletes who decide they can live without a WC payday go on strike, the pressure on the "second-liners" becomes so intense with a major payday that they stay on board almost to a man. And while the meet might be diminished, by and large it's still a success.

Think Moscow '80 and LA '84. Huge disappointments to the trackoscenti, but to the average person.....?

They need to be thinking about "top to bottom" solidarity
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:12 pm

gh wrote:
Think Moscow '80 and LA '84. Huge disappointments to the trackoscenti, but to the average person.....?



It's a different (media)world than 30 years ago. Just look at the NFL referee melodrama
Last edited by guru on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby vip » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:13 pm

Unless Bolt and maybe Rudisha sit out the World Champs, hardly anyone would notice who's missing. That in itself is the problem for the athletes. There's only one "face" of the sport, OK maybe two.

Anyway, it's almost impossible to unify hundreds of athletes from several dozen countries. But good luck.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:15 pm

vip wrote:
Anyway, it's almost impossible to unify hundreds of athletes from several dozen countries. But good luck.



Dont have to get them all. Just the ones the sponsors pay the IAAF to bring eyeballs to TV sets for(and it seems most of them are on board)
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby GDAWG » Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:27 pm

guru wrote:
gh wrote:...appealing to the better side of the alpha-soup boys is well.... doomed?

Do they really have any other weapon other than the big stick that unions have always relied upon, which is a withholding of services? AKA strike?

This is where we discover who has the courage of their convictions.



I agree 100% here. Despite Khadevis Robinson's protestations that work stoppages are not what this is about, at some point they're going to have to back up their demands with action should those demands fall on deaf ears. And that's boycotting an IAAF meet like the world championships.

Must be music to Moscow's collective ears to hear the word boycott lol


If the TFAA does strike, then next year's World Championships will be more "Euro-Centric" provided that many of the European Athletes choose not to join.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:34 pm

guru wrote:They also know it's the place the IAAF will take the biggest hit, if they(the IAAF) choose to fight. Most, if not all, of the athletes that would be likely to be in the money can probably afford to miss one paycheck, especially if they more than make up for it in the end.


What's "one paycheck" mean to you? These shoe companies aren't paying theae major stars to not compete at the year's biggest and most visible track meet. It would be a massive financial hit ( self-inflected if they have a spot to go).

Bolt's the only one with any name power that could garner attention by sitting out, and it's not as if the UK has changed its tax laws so that he might compete in their major meets. And he'll be gone after a few more seasons anyway and his legacy is already firmly established. Then what? There is no solidarity here as there is in the team sports. Being a member of the players union is a requirement for competing in the US big four and there's good reason to stick together in those leagues, as you're negotiating with alligned team owners paying salaries. It's a totally different world in track. You can be the best track athlete in the world and technically earn no money from it at all. There is no guaranteed money for being the best and certainly not for being one who is just around for a few seasons.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby j-a-m » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:22 am

Now this thread is on page four, and I still don't get all the talk about unionizing and boycotting. How is that even supposed to work, being independant contractors and not employees? Does the TFAA website say anywhere that it would even be within their mandate? And what exactly would be the goal?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby mump boy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:03 am

I've yet to understand what anyone is going on strike over !!

What are the demands ? i've not heard one realistic thing that this union will be campaigning on :?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby gh » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:55 am

Their main goal is pretty simple and has been well stated on multiple occasions. They want the opportunity to do more self-marketing, free of the oppressive rules of the various federations. It's not an unreasonable goal.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby j-a-m » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:36 am

gh wrote:Their main goal is pretty simple and has been well stated on multiple occasions. They want the opportunity to do more self-marketing, free of the oppressive rules of the various federations. It's not an unreasonable goal.

That's a completely reasonable goal and I agree with it. What I don't get is how that relates to potential unionization/strikes.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby polevaultpower » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:09 am

j-a-m wrote:
gh wrote:Their main goal is pretty simple and has been well stated on multiple occasions. They want the opportunity to do more self-marketing, free of the oppressive rules of the various federations. It's not an unreasonable goal.

That's a completely reasonable goal and I agree with it. What I don't get is how that relates to potential unionization/strikes.


The athletes have said nothing about strikes, that's all speculation by the public. Unionization is a way of showing solidarity of athletes. The athletes have formal representation within USATF and the USOC, so the more unified they are, the more likely they are to get votes in their favor.

As best I can tell, the biggest issues athletes are having are:

Domestically: USATF's inconsistent and arbitrary enforcement of random logo rules at USATF Championships. What shoes they can/can't wear on the medal stand.

Internationally: Rule 40 and its crippling affect on athletes' ability to capitalize on their accomplishment of making an Olympic team.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:54 am

polevaultpower wrote:

Domestically: USATF's inconsistent and arbitrary enforcement of random logo rules at USATF Championships. What shoes they can/can't wear on the medal stand.

Internationally: Rule 40 and its crippling affect on athletes' ability to capitalize on their accomplishment of making an Olympic team.


The first might be doable. On the second, I wouldn't hold my breath.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:56 am

gh wrote:Their main goal is pretty simple and has been well stated on multiple occasions. They want the opportunity to do more self-marketing, free of the oppressive rules of the various federations. It's not an unreasonable goal.


With the IAAF that might be doable. But with the IOC? Right....

Ol' man river,
Dat ol' man river
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes'keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby mump boy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:03 pm

If there's a sponsorship free for all, you can say good bye to any big time sponsors. In any sport or walk of life there are restrictions imposed by those that can pay for them. Letting athletes wear any sponsor they like is totally unworkable.

The idea that it is to allow poverty stricken athletes to get local sponsorship may have some merit (but using spurious stats about the % who make 15k or whatever it was is unhelpful) but i will always believe that this demand is driven by massive sports companies being able to run spoiler campaigns against their rivals at major champs.

Or do you really believe that everyone is going to go down the Phillis Smith route for a few joints of meat

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olym ... 38732.html
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:40 pm

Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby mump boy » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:08 pm

guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


If No2 is something they want to strike about i'll join them on the picket line
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:10 pm

guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


I'm a top-class international track and field athlete. How is union membership a necessity to me?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:18 pm

Ned Ryerson wrote:
guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


I'm a top-class international track and field athlete. How is union membership a necessity to me?



Sometimes it's bigger than just you - something the headliners - to their credit - are realizing.

http://tracking.si.com/2012/09/21/repor ... orm-union/

Sanya Richards-Ross wrote:A lot of athletes in our sport are severely underpaid, hold two or three jobs just to train and stay in the sport, and what pushed me over the edge to get on board and mobilize was just seeing how much money was generated from the Olympic Games.

"I do relatively well with great sponsors, but for the majority of my peers, that's not the reality and it's disheartening
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:33 pm

That doesn't tell me how it's necessary for me to be part of this in order to compete as I have been. It's very clear that, in order to have a career in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, I need to be a union member. How is that going to be the case here?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:47 pm

Ned Ryerson wrote:That doesn't tell me how it's necessary for me to be part of this in order to compete as I have been. It's very clear that, in order to have a career in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, I need to be a union member. How is that going to be the case here?



A question all professional sports unions faced at their inception - why do we need a union to play this sport, and why do I need to be a member.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:56 pm

guru wrote:
Ned Ryerson wrote:That doesn't tell me how it's necessary for me to be part of this in order to compete as I have been. It's very clear that, in order to have a career in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, I need to be a union member. How is that going to be the case here?



A question all professional sports unions faced at their inception - why do we need a union to play this sport, and why do I need to be a member.


Because there's collective bargaining in determining the parameters of salaries, revenue sharing and benefits. That's not the case here. How do I need to be a union member to compete in the Diamond League, World Championships or Olympic Games?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:32 pm

It might increase the ability to alter rules to be more beneficial to the athletes.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby guru » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:55 pm

26mi235 wrote:It might increase the ability to alter rules to be more beneficial to the athletes.


Exactly. It may not be a collective bargaining advantage in this particular situation, but a group certainly can turn screws better than an individual.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby polevaultpower » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:15 pm

Develop the Track Club system in an organized manner


The big shoe companies are largely to blame for this. They want exclusive sponsorships of their athletes, and, with a few exception (Oregon TC), are unwilling to allow their athletes to add a club logo to their uniforms.

I don't have a problem with exclusive sponsorships per se, but the big players have also managed to twist the IAAF/USATF/USOCs arms to make logo rules that make it almost impossible for clubs to have a presence at the top level.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:24 pm

guru wrote:
26mi235 wrote:It might increase the ability to alter rules to be more beneficial to the athletes.


Exactly. It may not be a collective bargaining advantage in this particular situation, but a group certainly can turn screws better than an individual.


But how does this go to point number one listed in the link you gave? How am I compelled to joing the union and how am I treated as a scab if I compete as a non-member?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby gh » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:08 pm

mump boy wrote:
guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


If No2 is something they want to strike about i'll join them on the picket line


If No. 2 is high on the agenda, count me out. Track is struggling to make it and you want to make drugs (the subject that has most damned us) a big talking point? We have met the enemy, and he is us. Holy shit.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby GDAWG » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:24 pm

According to the TFAA Twitter page, Ruben Sanca (Distance Runner from Cape Verde) and Canadian Andrew Ellerton have joined.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby GDAWG » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:32 pm

Ned Ryerson wrote:That doesn't tell me how it's necessary for me to be part of this in order to compete as I have been. It's very clear that, in order to have a career in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, I need to be a union member. How is that going to be the case here?


Do you see many more European athletes joining? I think that's the key to this whole thing because the last thing Track and Field needs is a global split of unionized athletes (The Americas plus some African and European athletes) vs. non union (Euros, Asians and maybe other Africans).

Also, the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL are North American based. The team reps all speak one language (English) and therefore can come together and elect an executive to represent them in labor talks. With this, it'll be extremely hard to do. The representatives of the regions (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa) will have to come up with some sort of consensus to choose someone who will talk to the IAAF and the IOC on their behalf.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby 26mi235 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:46 pm

GDAWG wrote:....


The Europeans are less labor and union oriented than the US??????????????????????????????? :cry:
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby decafan » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:27 pm

guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


I didn't find this editorial great at all.
1. Make track and field a closed shop? How? Why? Good luck. Never gonna happen. Track is a sport of starving rats fighting over a tiny piece of moldy cheese. Most make no money. You are going to make them pay union dues just to compete? Nice.
2. Implement a stronger international drug testing pool? Please refer to GH's post. This won't help the sport.
3. Get sponsor rules changed? Yes. I agree in principle.
4. Force the IOC's hand for the 2016 Olympics? Here is where the writer jumped the shark. I pray this will never happen. The Olympics are about nations competing against each other. I have no problem keeping the USA on the singlet and keeping McDonald's off of it.
5. Organized track club system? Nice idea, but you can't legislate interest. Citing the OTC is hysterical. Does anyone sober think that club can be modeled elsewhere in the US?

As I see it, the problem has to do with too small a piece of pie to split up. The t&f stars' agents will never allow them to go along with a union that costs them money. Ain't gonna happen. They don't make enough to sacrifice any for the greater good. The 2013 league minimum for a rookie in the NFL is $405k. Few of our stars will make that amount. A star in the NFL can afford to be gracious. There is plenty to go around. Track? Not so much. I predict this union dies on the vine.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby j-a-m » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:38 pm

decafan wrote:
guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


I didn't find this editorial great at all.

That's putting it mildly. If the author's #1 about forcing athletes to join is supposed to be a serious suggestion, then that's the most pathetic thing I've read on this topic so far.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby lionelp1 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:36 am

GDAWG wrote:According to the TFAA Twitter page, Ruben Sanca (Distance Runner from Cape Verde) and Canadian Andrew Ellerton have joined.


wow!!!
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Flumpy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:17 am

The IOC are quaking in their boots now :lol:
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Ned Ryerson » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:38 am

I don't see anyone sacrificing any meaningful part of their income or careers for this. Tell me why I need to join this union? I haven't heard any compelling reason. If the union decides to boycott all competitions in their quest to evoke the changes in policies they desire, why shouldn't I take my swing at winning a gold medal in Moscow this summer?

Is it just logos that are on the minds of those at the forefront of this movement? If they're really good, then their principle sponsor will offer them a contract that restricts other logos from appearing on their uniforms (and if they don't like that, they don't have to sign it). And if the IAAF does allows a free for all, then they can't be surprised when some competition doesn't extend an invitation to athletes featuring certain conflicting sponsors. I'd like to know who has lost out on how much money because they can't put additional logos on their uniform. I haven't heard a peep out of Robert Griffin III about how he can't have Subway's logo on his uniform, and yet Subway is his official training restaurant. How is that? Even in track, you will get additional sponsorships if you're profile is high enough.

I think all the comparisons with the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL need to be left behind. This is isn't a team sport. If you want to make it a team sport, then give up your individual freedom as an athlete and give up the World Championships, make the Olympics a sideshow and make a team record the most important goal of the season. That means getting well over a dozen track organizations to function as teams, arrange a season with a post season and a championship, a tv deal and official sponsors for the league, uniforms for each team with a single uniform manufacturer for the league (bye bye shoe contracts) and then working with the athletes association to form a draft. And once you're on a team, you're stuck there unless you get traded. No longer will Alan Webb or Kara Goucher be able to switch coaches if they feel like their current coaching arrangement is leading to stagnation. Rupp wants to run a marathon this spring? No way, he's running the full track schedule and we can't have him on injured reserve recovering from a non-league event. The top returning NCAA middle distance runner wants to take a shot running fast during his summer to tune up for the Olympics? No way: can't have a non-union athlete competing and to join the union would be giving up amateur status.

This is the reality of being an NBA or NHL athlete. Yeah, winning gold for your country at the Olympics is great but what fans want to see is a trophy at the end of the season. If they want to look at the ATP/WTA as models, that is closer to reality, but still a far cry from track. We've got dozens of different disciplines and essentially one global championship per year (and not every year), while tennis basically has one discipline (doubles aside) and four world championship opportunities every year.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby mump boy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:05 am

gh wrote:
mump boy wrote:
guru wrote:Excellent editorial regarding the path forward

http://www.writingaboutrunning.com/2012 ... field.html


If No2 is something they want to strike about i'll join them on the picket line


If No. 2 is high on the agenda, count me out. Track is struggling to make it and you want to make drugs (the subject that has most damned us) a big talking point? We have met the enemy, and he is us. Holy shit.


I ALWAYS want to make better testing a talking point and so should every fan. Or do you think the ridiculous sight of some of the OG winners is a better advert for the sport ?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby gh » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:15 am

Is there any parade you can't rain on?
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby 18.99s » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:53 am

decafan wrote:4. Force the IOC's hand for the 2016 Olympics? Here is where the writer jumped the shark. I pray this will never happen. The Olympics are about nations competing against each other. I have no problem keeping the USA on the singlet and keeping McDonald's off of it.

They're not worried about logo restrictions on their competition uniforms. Their problem is with the restrictions against sponsorship outside Olympic venues during the Olympics. They can't even thank their sponsors on Facebook or Twitter during that time frame.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby GDAWG » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:34 am

26mi235 wrote:
GDAWG wrote:....


The Europeans are less labor and union oriented than the US??????????????????????????????? :cry:


I have no clue.
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Re: T&F Athletes To Unionize

Postby Conor Dary » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:51 am

decafan wrote:

I didn't find this editorial great at all.


Yes, I agree. Everyone in a union? And if you don't want to be in one? And stronger testing? Yes, more positives! That is always great for the sport. And forcing the IOC's hand? What dreamland is this dude in?

And replicating OTC elsewhere? About as easy as franchising Hayward Fields all over the country. UCTC, among other clubs, were big....like 40 years ago....I guess he missed the fact that Oregon is track nuts and Phil Knight lives nearby.
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