For those who haven’t noticed famous cycling photographer Graham Watson stirred up a shit storm. A potential customer was perusing Watson’s website looking at images when he noticed that the URL for the Greg LeMond photos had the word “fool” instead of LeMond’s name. He complained saying, “not everyone is an Armstrong fan, and I was going to buy several prints from you, but no longer, very disappointed.” Watson’s reply was in a rather condescending tone, “I’ve not noticed that mistake, I’ll have my webmaster look at it. Sorry we cannot appease you, I’m a fan of both guys, they both did a lot for my career, just a shame one cannot keep his mouth shut.. GW”
Really – not noticed that mistake? Don’t bullshit us by saying you’re a fan of LeMond. I’m just wondering what Watson’s end strategy was by using “fool” for the URL? Did he think he was pulling some inside joke? LeMond is someone who he has made plenty of money from and no matter what your opinion is of LeMond it’s a dicky move. I was irritated by this but decided to calm down. Then I saw more people weigh in on Watson’s URL controversy. Darach McQuaid, brother to Pat McQuaid, tweeted yesterday, “Lots of bloggers/w*****s commenting on @grahamwatson10 view on Lemond. After 32yrs on a moto, methinks his opinion is worthy.” I got to ask again, why does this make his opinion worthy to slag someone whose images have taken him to the bank many a time? As someone on Twitter stated – is this omerta? Just everyone stay quiet and we’ll all make money off of this.
Then the story got a bit weirder. Simone LeMond Twittered that Lance Armstrong was now following her. Obviously Armstrong started following Simone in response to her Twitter comments to Watson. Armstrong replies on Twitter, “Just relax.” Sure Armstrong has a right to reply to someone but it’s a creepy move. I just checked who Armstrong is following on Twitter and as of right now he is not following her. But to ask again, why suddenly follow her and then even engage her? Author Daniel Coyle wrote in his book, “Lance Armstrong’s War” that the seven-time Tour de France champion carefully kept tabs on rivals – both those on the road as well as those in the media, affectionately calling them trolls. This Watson/LeMond discussion is another example of Armstrong keeping tabs on his enemies. I’m not trying to come across as a Armstrong hater – I’m just someone who is curious about his tactic.
The end result is that Watson with his subtle “fool” URL has made it clear he’s on the side of everyone needs to shut up and the past is the past. The only result so far is that the post from Watson’s website from the offended customer has been removed. You can agree or disagree with LeMond and his criticism of the sport, but Watson was completely out of line and owes the three-time Tour de France champion an apology.