Oct. 23rd, 2012

bajahyena: (Default)
I wanted to put some thoughts down on how one destroys the reputation of a sport. In business you have history that shows that while you may win a case, you can actually do great harm to your company. As an example, look at McDonalds and the McLibel trial. McDonalds was running around suing almost anyone that criticized them in the UK. They threatened to sue or sued everyone from the BBC to student unions. Greenpeace had 5 volunteers handing out leaflets called "What's Wrong With McDonalds". It accused the company of exploiting children with advertising, promoting an unhealthy diet, and being responsible for environmental damage. McDonalds sent in spies to Greenpeace who broke into the London office to take photos and infiltrate the organization to get specific names and addresses. McDonalds had to sue individuals and it ended up suing 2 of these people named Helen Steel and Dave Morris.

I won't go through the whole trial. You can look up the particulars but, this turned into the longest trial of any kind in British history. It resulted in legislation due to concern that companies would smother free speech via threat of libel cases and suing individuals or organization which couldn't defend themselves due to financial limitations. It became a David vs Goliath problem for McDonalds where grass roots efforts led to almost viral growth in support of David and Helen. They raised money for their defense, created websites, and dragged McDonalds through the mud which only repeated and resonated the negative message of how McDonalds is terrible for people and the environment for a year and a half. This was essentially free, day to day, negative advertising against McDonalds. This damaged McDonalds in a way Dave and Helen could have never dreamed by handing out some leaflets. McDonalds financed it's own demise in marketing. Additionally, there was an appeal which ruled that McDonalds regular customers did face increased risk of heart disease and said it was fair for Helen and Dave to point out how McDonald's workers suffer poor pay and conditions. This again caused McDonald's image to be dragged through the media in a very negative light. What was a simple action of handing out some leaflets turned into 10yrs of negative press for McDonalds. Do you think McDonalds would have been better off to just "let it go" and leave Helen and Dave to hand out some leaflets until they moved on to some other cause? I certainly think so and, in fact, McDonalds pursuing Helen and Dave is seen as one of the all time great Marketing disasters in corporate history.

Now, lets look at cycling. Who's tired of hearing about doping in cycling? Who's tired of every time you open a news website or paper, you see how cycling is full of people that do nothing but dope? Cycling itself has pursued not only current cyclists but it has reached back into history to try to destroy it's greatest champions. Almost all of the Tour De France winners from the last 13yrs have had their victories stripped. It seems like cycling has dragged itself through the sewer by keeping Cycling in a negative light in the media for a decade. I now look at the history of cycling as completely invalid. They might as well negate all their past champions because if they think I don't believe that all the great champions of the 70's, 80's and 90's were all doping, they are crazy and out of touch. They have made it clear that the only way to excel in cycling is to dope and thus, the past great champions must have been doing the same before there was credible drug testing. So, what does that say about their sport? It tells me that Cycling is a joke. It's phony. I see that the great history that cycling touts, is all invalidated. The governing bodies of cycling have made a huge mistake! Instead of simply setting up credible testing techniques and moving on, they have chosen to destroy the purity and good name of the sport they pretend to protect. I would argue that though they have "brought down" Lance Armstrong, they have also greatly damaged cycling especially here in America.

So, I say congratulations to Cycling's governing bodies. You have indeed destroyed a man that was a hero to so many for being a role model for people with cancer. Someone who's charity organizations have given millions to cancer causes and even more importantly, raised awareness of not only how terrible cancer is but showed how we all could survive and thrive post cancer. Congratulations for making many realize that cycling's historic champions are nothing more than a string of exalted drug users. Congratulations on freeing up my time as I won't be watching a bunch of drug users peddle around the pavement until they get their next fix. After all, this is the image you have created for the sport you claim to love. Sometimes, you need to learn that being "right" can be very wrong. Your short sighted need to punish the past has lead to you savaging your future.


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