Friday, August 20, 2010

UPDATED: Mike Creed on Doping and Sport

I believe that pro cyclist Mike Creed is saying something much more profound than what other commentators have attributed to him after his recent interview with Cyclingnews.com. That is, for him, and by extension, many of his colleagues, doping is not something that they view through a moral or ethical lens. And by extension, when someone tests positive, Creed is not interested in excoriating them for supposed moral-failings. Rather, he sees doping primarily as something to be avoided because of a fear of medical complications, and accepts the fact that his decision not to dope came not from any high-minded moral principles, but rather, simply from being scared.

Cyclingnews heavily edited the original interview to create that article, and Mike would have been better off just doing it with NY Velocity again, whereby they transcribe everything that's said.

Anyway, what's most noteworthy to me, and what I thought more people would pick-up on, was the reference to Creed's being benched for two months without explanation by Team Type 1 management. For those of you who follow Pappillon, you also know that Creed was wrongly accused of being a bitter insider leaking embarrassing details of the poor leadership within that organization that saw at least five staff members quit the team in frustration. Despite the fact that it was impossible for Creed to be the leaker, because I was in conversation with him on one line, and effectively receiving messages from the leaker on another, the team's mgmt won't even answer Mike's queries. I'm not entirely surprised by that, however, as my experiences interacting with Phil have seen him reply only when it was convenient and not when the rules of decorum suggested it.

Creed's not a doper and never has been, though he's got balls for trying to suggest we drop the fake moral outrage, so to speak. That didn't translate in the article, and he should have gone with a different format that would have allowed us to read Creed's comments Verbatim (he's an engaging interview, for sure, and a funny guy to be around). But regardless, being honest about how the peloton has not - in general - viewed doping as a moral problem and still doesn't (although some PC riders are too scared to admit that right now, so they tow the line and call for the application of the death penalty for cases of doping) shouldn't be reason for him to be shunned by his employer.

UPDATE: Thanks to a different Mike for both the friendly, encouraging comment, and a reminder to highlight Mike Creed's home-made aero helmet! WTF?! Someone ask him (MC) what the heck's up with that!?! Nothing like slummin' it in the ghetto on a team that claims to intend to ride the Giro, but which can't manage staff (or talent) any better than your local Masters/Cat.3/Wednesday-Night-World's team, allegedly.


If you're trying to think of a gift for your favorite future-euro-team-pres., consider getting him and his colleagues copies of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business - Personal Skills for Professional Success" (suggest chapters, "Executive Etiquette" and "The Written Word" - especially the part about communicating electronically, sending email - always respond, keep it short, don't get emotional).

13 comments:

  1. This is why I love your blog Papp -- no pulled punches and just great writing. Great work.

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  2. Yes, this is good & refreshingly honest. Take cauthion though not to defend your man to make it seem like you know beyond any doubts that he did the leakage. You're not with him at all times - even if he's your man-crush - so you don't know definitavely. Though ok you strongly believe his innocenze.

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  3. Joe, in the last few months you've deconstructed the moral component of the doping issue brilliantly. You've pulled back the curtain on dope in cycling in a way that only someone with your experience could. By problematizing the simplistic mainstream narrative about dope, you've effectively humanized the athletes. For there to be progress on the doping issue, the mainstream narrative has to move beyond the third grade morality often expressed at cyclingnews.com, velonews.com, and on the Versus network.

    Mike Creed's benching is an outrage. This is just the kind of unjustifiable punitive action one can expect from a desperate and out-of-control management. Evaporating confidence in leadership at Team Type 1 seems to be leading to mutiny. Here's hoping the mutineers land on their feet.

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  4. Wow guys, thanks for the high-praise. I'm humbled by your words and slightly overwhelmed. As long as there is a need for another voice bto explain and comment on both doping in cycling, and that which is still beautiful about our sport, I'll do my best to continue.

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  5. I thought the most over looked part of the cyclingnews article was Michael's home made aero helmet.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/photos/michael-creed-why-i-never-doped-and-my-future-in-the-sport/124529

    Great post, this is exactly what people are not understanding about what Floyd has been saying as well.

    Have you thought about doing a post about all of the ex postal riders health problems? Landis doping, Clinger and Gerlach's addiction, Hamilton's depression, Creed's fear of health problems. I wonder if there is more is why I ask.

    -@assholemike

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  6. The new photos look nice. Does anyone have a copy of the creed error helmet special they could submit to the editor here so someone could get it to the copy editor for his review?

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  7. I read the Forums, too20 August, 2010 17:34

    Just thinking aloud here...but aren't there characteristics in race cars that do not translate to the families mini van?

    And don't "Pro" football and Baseball players do things that a LL or High School player shouldn't do because it transformers from hobby to job?

    Race horses are given substances and training regimes that would harm or kill old Bessy!

    Today's racers in Europe might accumulate 100+ days of racing in their bodies. With air travel, track and cyclocross gaining ground there is almost no off-season, just a strange sliding scale of when you are going to take time off depending on your skill set.

    The PROBLEM AS I SEE IT is that road racing and racers at the pro level are being judged in some fuzzy system where hobbyist rules and views are the overlay on which the pros are judged!!!

    The UCI should address the real needs of pro bike racers and the care they need. Watching US sports it would be interesting to see if all elite athletes had short term contracts of one year...one small knee injury would force them into desperation-mode in an instant - but pro road cyclists have been in desperation mode for decades...

    Medicines and techniques that appear crazy to the guy racing a crit on Sunday are everyday practice in pro circles. Just ask Pappillon, right JOE? Just the number of needles used to administer B12 and other vitamins for pros it make a heroin den look sterile. I saw in the forums someone suggested that the race organizers should be yet another level of policing..if the TDF had said that teams A,B are not going to be invited because of questionable practices and riders and 1 or more of the those teams would have included Armstrong there would have been a closed door meeting and the decision would have been changed simply for financial not moral reasons.

    Even with a big black cloud over him, Armstrong is still pure media gold. If pro cyclists were judged by a jury of their peers instead of "regular" people this issue would be handled very differently - not on morality, but rather, in practical terms.

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  8. Bobrik's cousin20 August, 2010 17:36

    Ну все-таки угадать, что он сказал и что он имел в виду доказать, автор / редактор перепутал интервью / статьи. Я просто не могу поверить, они были такие собеседника, история и даже не вырыли много в него, он просто бегали по поверхности с некоторыми намек на то, что можно и произошло.

    Тогда история кажется скрытые на первой странице, с такими веб-сайт с проверенными интерес своих читателей о борьбе с допингом (отсюда и кол-во пост клиники), его путаных вниз от зрения.

    Основные провалом возможно хорошая новость достойной истории и информации! Кто жил в Girona в то время? Hummm ...

    Не беспокойтесь, веры, мы по-прежнему следовать за вами на реальных интервью.

    Я думаю, его хороший кусок пуха фантастики.

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  9. Right, there, Vladislav...right...

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  10. Do you think there should be any consequences for Pro Teams that blatantly bench a guy resulting in a possiblity of no contract offers for 2011 ? The management at TT1 makes it very obvious what their ultimate goal is.
    Kill his career by making him "persona non grata" or "an unwelcome person". No racing, no results, no phone calls = no contract. He was their best overall GC racer in 2009 and was according to their own PR machine best GC guy and TT man for 2010. Other reports and blogs indicated that huge turnover at TT1. They are on their 4th PR person in less than a year. Here is a guy that is a long term Pro and is forced to sit. Total Bull S*** that a team can screw a guys career on purpose. They don't even have him listed for national championships in Greenville. How do you not take one of the top pros in the U.S. to the national championships ? I don't understand why no one besides you is asking the same questions about TT1. A really piss poor management move for a team that wants to move up the food chain. I've read your other posts about TT1 and how they handle dissent and maybe this just how a Pro team runs things. If it is, then I can only hope TT1's days are numbered.

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  11. Anon, unfortunately I don't think there is an administrative solution to that kind of a situation, where a team's mgmt is intentionally harming a rider's employment prospects by not racing him. If they stopped paying him, too, then there would be cause to appeal to the UCI, and a mechanism to address the grievance. But because they are still delivering on his salary, to the best of my knowledge, they can do what they like with him, even if that includes nothing.

    I think it's a terrible situation for Mike to be in, and I hope he's reinforcing his value in the minds of others, if that's at all possible.

    I don't understand the lack of interest in this from actual journalists, unless Mike is simply not talking about it. But if you were the organizer of the Giro, wouldn't you start to feel uncomfortable at the thought of allowing into your race a team that played games like this with the career's and livelihoods of its riders? If anything, intentionally screwing-over your roster is worse than encouraging them to dope.

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  12. I don't want to be the wet blanket or accused of rumoring (so I don't put my name for this reason) - but does no to one think that perhaps the Mike Creed is benched because of something that his team directorship knows but we are not aware of it? Not just mean doping, but maybe some other impropriety or unacceptable behavior? I do not know this and is only a theory - but maybe team is totally just in directorship making such decision. And perhaps they do not talk of it publicly becaus eit would be embarrassing for all? Team directorship should really explain what's going on - not good to have such unexplainedness surrounding team that directorship says will go to Giro d'Italia. I don't believe it.

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  13. Directorship or dictatorship ? The team isn't talking because of the fear opening a can of worms it has no explanation for. Any discussion or explanation now would bring too much attention in the hunt for a UCI upgrade for the team. Poor team management and lack of leadership has lead to a revolving door over the last 18 months. Give Creed credit for not opening both barrel's on the team publicaly. When your looking for new team, it's better to take the high road and keep the mouth shut for now. I'm sure TT1 doesn't want to make a public statement at this point for fear of it back firing on them considering the number of former employees that would back allegations of management failures.

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