Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stupid. Plain Stupid.

When people have a forum to speak, they should really think before they open their mouths. If we can blame AC/DC for causing teenagers to commit suicide, then why can't we hold commentators like this responsible for firefighters shooting riders with their children?

What these people fail to realize is that their words, "just tap them... not a fatal tap, just knock them over... if you aren't rubbing you aren't racing" are just as bad as "he's just a nigger" or "he's just a filthy Jew" or "she was asking for it". There is no difference between gay bashing and inviting people to run down cyclists. Advocating and trivializing violence and intimidation against any group is wrong and there are no degrees to it. Stating that anyone's right to life and safety is less than your right to drive a "big powerful car" is hate speech.

ESPN is the home of this ridiculous man. He represents them. If I watch this show and hear this out of his mouth, then my assumption is that ESPN backs his words and agrees with him. ESPN suspended him for criticizing a fellow commentator's wardrobe choices, but will he be suspended for encouraging his listeners to kill? I understand that Lance Armstrong will be confronting Mr.Kornheiser on his show over this issue. I am sure that many will think that is enough.

I think he should be fired. Had he advocated violence against any group based on race or sexual orientation he would be out on his butt. It is that simple. If you encourage others to maim and kill on a national television show, you should be fired.

Feel free to comment.

via Bikerumor.

(addendum) Here is where you can let the network know you feel the same (or maybe you don't but I will just think you do). I have already sent off my feelings on the subject.


  1. I could only listen for a little over a minute before I was so angry my hands were shaking. Put one of their spouses or children out on the streets and let them get ran down and see if that changes their attitude. I completely agree - the man should be fired and everyone who went along with and laughed, as well.

    This sort of thing has got to stop.

  2. People who talk for a living seldom think. Congress is a good example.
    ESPN is hardly a place I would look for wisdom.

  3. Unfortunately not everyone is that wise and those that aren't are going to take the cocky hateful attitude they heard on this show out onto the road.

  4. Maurie- I know how you feel. The longer I listened the worse it got. His hateful, ignorant and violent sentiments made me cry out of frustration and anger. This guy does not have a history of intelligent discourse, but this goes beyond just being inane and obtuse and goes straight to hate and vindictiveness.

    OF- I don't think of ESPN as a repository of philosophic genius but I do expect to not come away from it feeling threatened and insulted. Mildly confused by the million rules of professional football, I can except : )

  5. Another ignorant, cocky ass, who thinks it is funny to suggest to the public that killing (or harming) others is a good thing, just because they can not get along with them.

    Isn't it amazing that these guys get paid for doing this?

    I sincerely hope that ESPN takes the matter seriously and does the right thing.

    Now, y'all be safe out there!

    Peace :)

  6. I ride daily on the very same streets that Tony Kornheiser was talking about in this clip. I haven't experience any increase in aggressive driving since this show.

    Either he has no influence or only cyclists are taking his rant as a serious discussion appropriate driving behavior. I vote for both.

  7. I'd say the show lost a listener, but I'd have to listen first, wouldn't I?

    I've sent my comments to the management.

    I expect that they'll do less than they did over the Hanah Storm issue. They'll throw us a bone by letting Lance rip Tony a new one, and then forget it.

    If the crew is allowed to continue in their jobs, we need a ghost bike campaign outside of ESPN headquarters, as well as the local affiliate from which Tony's show is broadcast...maybe blocking their parking garage with hundreds of ghost bikes might deliver a point?

  8. Tom- I was hoping someone from the area would drop by! I don't think that people like him hold any sway over how the generally reasonable public act. Thinking people probably do not listen to his show. But for those who already have the same violent, unreasoned and ignorant thought patterns (not to mention a propensity to disinhibition) he re-enforces their belief that this behavior is OK. Individuals that hate only really have power when they have a large forum in which to spread their hate. People like the firefighter who shot the cyclist think they are "justified" in their actions because they here those ideas re-enforced on shows like this.

    Mark- I was thinking it would be good to ride there with signs that say "Will you hit me?"

  9. I am not an intent follower of the mainstream sports, and I had not heard of this guy until this incident. However, my initial response was that I wanted to send this jerk an email letting him know that I am a 220 lb. Steelers fan, and if he ever "tapped" me or anyone I know, I would be happy to come through his window and tear his scrawny neck out, I though he might relate to that. I thought better of it, and didn't respond as such. I heard that Lance was on and handled it sanely and sensibly, good for him.

  10. I wish I could watch the show to see Lance take him on, but I will be out at that time (something like 4 pm Pacific time) and I am not sure it is worth space on my DVR.

  11. My first thought was, as somebody who has been "run down" myself, I wonder how he would feel with sixteen staples in his head and a separated shoulder. Yer right Adrienne its not worth the space on the dvr or our heads

  12. Barbaric banter.. is this really effective persuasion? Just seems lame.

  13. well we all have an educated opinion because we ride bikes. the fact that people like this exist everywhere is a fact, and if one man can shut them down at least in the public eye/ear is lance. with his following, he has called him up on it via twitter and last i heard made him apologize on the phone
    i could be wrong, the tv/internet have been off for the last few hours.

    sad, but is a reminder that idiots like these are everywhere – let's be safe out there and make the statement like we have, by being present. the rest will follow.

  14. and im upset at ESPN. i love sports but is a man-dominated media.

    shit time to work for ESPN deportes and slap some of those idiots straight with a 4inch high heel kick to the balls. ¡GOL!!!!!

  15. OK, somebody's got to say this...the cycling community (of which I proudly consider myself a member) has to be mature enough, and have enough self-awareness, to admit that much of the frustration that this guy is venting here has been created by some cyclists acting like jerks. Come on now, we all know it happens...we've all probably been guilty of it (I know I have); acting like we own the whole road, ignoring traffic lights, etc. Respect is a two way street. Just because we feel morally superior for riding a bike instead of a car (come on now, admit it, you know we do!)doesn't mean that we are somehow exempt from all the rules that everyone else has to follow (and yes, I include myself in this hypocrisy: I love Critical Mass!). I don't know this guy; I've never heard him before; but before we string him up from the nearest light post for his stupid, over the top remarks, maybe we need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves what responsibility we have had for creating this type of attitude among the non-cycling majority. After all, if you hear him out in this clip he actually says he supports bike lanes and sharing the road. He's half way with us already, so rather than totally villianizing
    him (and trying to get him fired!) maybe we should try to dialogue with him,and by acknowledging his valid concerns, we might even be able to win him over all the way. Remember, there is always going to be more of them than us; we need allies, not enemies.
    Just a suggestion.

  16. The firefighter makes me sick.

    This ESPN banter disgusts me - but I wonder if Andre has a point. Since their animus is focused on the helmet and the shiny shorts -"posers" they say - would getting more ordinary people in ordinary clothes on bikes help them see cyclists more humanely? Though, honestly, I don't have a lot of hope for loudmouths who think a little roughing up of anyone is funny.

  17. Andre- I can not speak for others, but I can say i do not feel morally superior to anyone because I ride my bike. I also can say that I do not preach violence against the people that endanger my life by driving poorly.

    I understand MR. K's frustration with those sports cyclists and weekend warriors who will not do anything to jeopardize their heart rates or run times. I frequently am angered and frustrated with the constant battle call of "Left!!!!!" when I am out with my children.

    Of course we must all be self policing and not ride like entitled jerks for whom normal rules of behavior no longer exist because we are running our own private enduro.

    This does not mean that a person like Mr. K, who is on national television can rant on about the joy of endangering and taunting cyclists, no matter how frustrating some of them may be, simply because he wants to drive faster.

    Take the case of the man in a Georgia Wal-Mart who slapped a stranger's 2 year old because it was crying. He didn't permanently injure the child (just tap them) but he felt that because other's shouldn't have to deal with the child (I shouldn't have to slow down) he had a right to "teach the kid a lesson" (they won't ride in the street again!).

    It is the same thing. Advocating this behavior, violence against others to "teach", is wrong in all senses of the word.

    Emma- Lots of people looking like people on bikes would go a long way toward making lots of things better.

  18. I just listened to the clip again..and yes,what he said was obnoxious, irresponsible, and just plain stupid...but it also should be said that it was quite obvious from the context that he was KIDDING. They were all laughing and just doing dumb schtick and they let it go too far. That doesn't make it right, and I hate to seem like I'm defending this guy, because that's certainly not my intention...I'm just saying let's keep a little perspective here: what he did, as stupid as it was, is not at all the moral equivalent of assaulting a two year old child, Adrienne. Not by a mile.

    It's too bad this guy isn't a local, because the best thing to do would be to invite him out to ride with us for awhile. It would probably do him a world of good to experience the situation from the other side of the great divide.

    All the great spiritual traditions, whether Christian, Buddhists, etc. ( even a Secular Humanism grounded in Natural Law) teach us that anger and outrage is easy, and also cheap, because it costs nothing of us. On the other hand, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness can be very hard,and it is expensive because it cost us to give a lot of ourselves in the process....if it's true that he has apologized, then that is the direction our hearts should be looking also.

  19. You know there is some good, a lot of good that will come out of this silly thing, if it means a healthy national discussion about cycling,cars,trains,walking, and how they can coincide in an urban environment. To get lance on there advocating, well hell i think tony(don't like that I share is name) did all of us a favor.

  20. and o yeah go pixburg stillers Bill. I may be 5'7'' 125 but that doesn't matter with, hart,steel, wheels, and pedals. I'm with yah.

    anthony in PDX

  21. Forgiving someone for transgressions they have acted out is the basic tenant of most religions. It is a sound principal. Just because I forgive someone does not mean that person is relieved of responsibility for their actions. No religion teaches that.

    The 5 moral responsibilities I have copied below are from a good article on the Buddha and forgiveness. My forgiveness of MR. K's behavior has already been given, but his responsibility to fix the damage he has done remains. His network's responsibility for repairing the damage their show has done remains.

    1. We are always responsible for our conscious choices.

    2. We should always put ourselves in the other person’s place.

    3. All beings are worthy of respect.

    4. We should regard those who point out our faults as if they were pointing out treasure. (Monks, in fact, are required not to show disrespect to people who criticize them, even if they don’t plan to abide by the criticism.)

    5. There are no — repeat, no — higher purposes that excuse breaking the basic precepts of ethical behavior.

    As to the whole thing being done in "jest", as I have said before, if this had been "jokes" where we substituted black people for cyclists... we would not have to have this discussion. He would be out.

    I agree, it would be nice to see him have a "come to Jesus" moment and actually learn what cycling and cyclists are all about. My more cynical side thinks that will only happen in front of a camera with Mr. K getting riding instruction from the biggest names in cycling.

  22. What 'damage' has he done? Give me a break! Have we really become such hyper-sensitive thought police? This is what I mean about perspective. Do we or do we not have the right of free speech in this society? Free speech includes the right to say stupid things. Gee, stupid things are said on cable TV; what a revelation!

    Here's a radical notion: if you don't like what is said on ESPN, then don't watch it ( I don't).

    Stupid things are also said on blogs: for example, see the completely gratuitous, unhelpful, and yes, hateful post by Antonis above...does that make Adrienne responsible for repairing the "damage"? Of course not.

    Come on folks, lighten up...or wear a helmet! (preferably both)

    He said some stupid things and he has been called out for it. If he has apologized ( and I say "if" because I don't know if that report is true or not) then that should be the end of it. If that doesn't satisfy your sense of outrage and you still clamor for his blood than all I have left to say is that you can count me out of your PC lynch mob.

  23. Andre- I don't think you could categorize anything said here as "lynch mob", but just as Mr. K has some legitimate concerns about how some riders represent themselves on the road, many riders have legitimate concerns about those in positions of power (broadcasting on national television is a position of power) making statements like the ones Mr. K. made.

    There is damage done in this situation. How many people out there do not allow their children to ride bicycles because of fear of people who make these thoughts public? I have been called a "fucking cunt" for riding my bike with my 5 year old on the back (BTW by a guy wearing an ESPN baseball hat). For many people, people I know, that would be enough to break the tenuous hold the urban cycling has on them because they would feel threatened.

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. We are free to say almost anything, but there are things that are not protected-

    -you can not yell "Fire!!!!" in a public place that does not actually have a fire because it endangers others.

    -you can not threaten anyone

    This is not a forum for a complete discussion of either religious ideology (although Buddhist teaching is of great interest to me) or the scope of the First Amendment (another interesting topic which I can spend hours on, but it is a good place to figure out how we each feel about situations like this.

    We are very happy to have your POV, as we are to have Antonis' (although I would point out that Mr. K does not in any way resemble a stuffed sausage). I am ultimately responsible for anything that I allow to be posted here as it is my blog with my name on it. I accept that responsibility happily.

    Want to write an article for us about how you feel on this or similar situations, Andre? We would LOVE to have it!

  24. Yes; "lynch mob" was an over- statement on my part...much too harsh.

  25. That's OK. His life is his own punishment. : )

  26. Adrienne, I'd just like to say the "..battle call of "Left!!!!!"" is not a 'battle call'. It's the equivalent of ringing a bell but perhaps with more information - information telling you where the faster rider will be passing you - information to prevent an accident. Information to hopefully prevent you getting hurt and to prevent the rider from getting hurt. I especially call out when I see kids... because I don't want to be involved in an accident with anyone - especially not a child.
    As with all forms of transport - yes, there are the aggressive types out there, but please don't tarnish all with the the same brush.... just as the comedy skit did.

  27. Hey, Kenzo. You are correct, it is not always a battle call, but sometimes it is. My kids have had people freak out on them for not moving over fast enough and slowing someone down. We have all experienced those riders on the road. They are the ones who will not slow down for pedestrians on the Golden Gate Bridge or for 2 year olds on push bikes at Sunday Streets or in Golden Gate Park because they are so wrapped up in the competition and image. They can be differentiated from the others by the fact that they yell "LEFT!!!" not call "On your left!" and that the yelling gets more aggressive if you do not move over at once. My guess is that at least one of them was the guy I saw in an Audi A4 with a super high end carbon frame on the back rack honking at another driver who wasn't getting out of her parking space fast enough for him : )

    We have all experienced them, as Andre has pointed out. We all get judged by their actions, which is a shame. They are by no means what everyone who rides in full kit is like.

  28. ok, that's it - .357 goes in my wool jersey back pocket next ride. ;>)...

  29. Not much different from what I read in the letters to the editor I'm afraid and I live in a bike friendly community (or so they say). This is why I avoid television and most mainstream media.