I’d heard about the Tony Kornheiser’s comments about running over cyclists a few days ago. To be honest, it really didn’t faze me. He’s a sports commentator whose whole schtick is to be controversial. His bosses expect that and pay him to be controversial. Did I honestly think that he believed what he said, that it was okay to run over cyclists? No. He was talking to fill four hours of broadcast time and those words came out before his brain caught up with his mouth.
Now today it went up another notch because Lance Armstrong heard about his comments and spoke out about it on Twitter calling him a f’ing idiot and supplying the contact information at ESPN to complain. People also reached out to me to write something or join an anti-Kornheiser Facebook page, but I wasn’t going to give the ESPN commentator the satisfaction of acknowledging his existence. That’s what we all should have done.
Now he has caught the attention of Armstrong who has actually rewarded him by going on his radio show to talk about bicycle awareness. Really? Do you need to be told by Lance Armstrong that it’s not okay to run over and kill people? This is something that should have been conveyed to you in kindergarten or by a parent. When you apply for a driver’s license you need to know the rules of the road. One of those rules is DON’T RUN OVER PEOPLE! If you need Armstrong or any sports figure/celebrity to remind you not to kill anyone or just treat people with a modicum of respect then I truly feel sorry for you and as a society we are just half a step away from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
The person who is going to run over a cyclist is someone in an emotional state. They are angry, unhinged or otherwise impaired. This person isn’t going to stop and think before aiming their SUV into a cyclist, “Hey, I remember Lance talking on Tony K’s show about how we shouldn’t run over and kill people. You know what? I’m just going to wait a moment and drive around when it is safe to do so. Thanks Lance!”
So let’s all stop being emotional for a moment and think what we can do. One is if you want to do something don’t listen to his show and tell his sponsors that you are boycotting their products. If an advertiser didn’t like something I said, I was called into the principal’s office. Nothing gets the attention of your boss in the media world like a pissed off sponsor threatening to yank ads.
Also get people involved in cycling. They don’t need to be racers, commuters or fitness enthusiasts – just get them to ride a bike. The reason people hate someone, whether it is a cyclist, runner, person of a different ethnic or religious background, is because they don’t know them. If everyone knew a cyclist it wouldn’t be such a “us” versus “then” mentality. It’s a lot harder to hate when you know that person.
In the short term the winner out of all this is Tony Kornheiser. He got a bump in listeners and an “A” list sports figure to phone into his show. I would respect Armstong if he went on the show and tore him a new ass, but he won’t. He will be stern, but cordial. Kornheiser will apologize and Armstrong will accept that and invite him to some Tweet-Up ride.
I’ll be optimistic and think in the long-term maybe someone in his audience will become cycling-friendly. However, Armstrong will be preaching to the choir (listening because Lance is on the show) since from what I understand, Kornheiser’s usual audience isn’t in the cycling demographic.
Also, I finally got off my ass and blogged again, so I’m happy about that.