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« A case for taking the lane | Main | Rik Van Looy: King of the Classics »
Friday
Mar192010

Lance Armstrong jumps in after Kornheiser’s anti-cyclist rant

Sports broadcaster Tony Kornheiser, (Left.) went off on the following anti-cyclist rant on his ESPN radio show while discussing a proposal to add new bike lanes in Washington, DC.

....."I don't take my car and ride on the sidewalk because I understand that's not for my car.

Why do these people think that these roads were built for bicycles?

They don't share the road. They dominate the road.

They dare you to run them down....And then when you do, they get angry. What is that about?....And so you tap them. I'm not saying you kill them. I'm saying you tap them.

Tap them once....If you're not rubbing, you're not racing right? So you pop them a little bit and see what happens."

Later Lance Armstrong who has close to 2 ½ million followers on Twitter weighed in with the following comments:

Tony Kornheiser on cyclists on the road, "run 'em down". Really? Big mistake, Tony.

Listening to Tony Kornheiser's comments/rant on ESPN radio re: cyclists. Disgusting, ignorant, foolish. What a complete f-ing idiot.

As a result ESPN took down Kornheiser's broadcast with the cyclist comments from its website, and Lance Armstrong,  will appear on Kornheiser's radio show March 19 to discuss the issue.

Further messages from Lance on Twitter said:

...just off the phone with Tony Kornheiser who's very sorry for his comments re: cyclists. Going on the show tomorrow to discuss this.

To me this is all about a relationship. It's bikes and cars. Both will be here forever. Awareness needs to exist as well as mutual respect.

When will these broadcasters and print journalists realize that it is not alright to go off on these anti-cyclist, hate tirades, then claim that it was just in fun, not serious.

Dan Steinberg in his Washington Post DC Sports Blog defends Kornheiser saying:

He's been saying things like this for years and years, way before bloggers decided that radio transcription was an acceptable pastime.

If you listen, you also realize that he's playing the character of a crotchety old man who doesn't like John Feinstein (whom he actually likes), doesn't like Mike Wise, doesn't like soccer, doesn't like soccer parents, doesn't like cross-country skiers, doesn't like women's basketball players, doesn't like Jim Rome, doesn't like David Falk, doesn't like Fran Drescher, doesn't like interviewing athletes, doesn't like sales weasels, doesn't like bloggers, doesn't like computers, doesn't like e-mail, and basically doesn't like life.

If the interest groups for everything that Kornheiser had ever insulted on his radio show were to start online campaigns against his radio station, well, that would make for a fairly humorless world. I mean, it's shtick, people. Chill out.

No,no,no… it is not okay because there are enough road rage crazies out there who will attempt to act out Kornheiser’s fantasy. You can’t just “Tap” a cyclist with a five ton vehicle without serious consequences.

There was a certain Doctor in Los Angeles who thought he could “Teach Cyclists a Lesson” by slamming on his brakes in front of two bike riders. I’m sure the Doc thought the two would simply bounce off the back of his car and come away just a little scared, but otherwise uninjured.

The actual result was one cyclist with his nose almost severed from his face, the other with a dislocated shoulder, and the Doctor went to prison for five years.

I hope Lance Armstrong will touch on that when he talks with Kornheiser today.

 

Footnote: Listen to Lance on the Tony Kornheiser broadcast

 

Reader Comments (14)

I read about this yesterday and posted on twitter that it was about time that a celebrity cyclist actually got off their ass and started countering all the hate that cyclists get.

I put up with this crap day in day out and nothing gets done.

The more its highlighted and the higher up its highlighted, the more it will hit the mainstream media.

People like this Kornheiser actually do us a favour as it makes big news of something that generally gets ignored (especially in the UK where the BBC is pro car, anti cyclist).

Good on Lance for hitting back. Now get posting on some of these anti cycling stories too... I suggest starting with the Daily Mail.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoby

5 ton vehicle! What are you driving Dave, an F450? You might be the problem!

Anyone inspired to act out in response to his nonsense is sick/dumb enough to eventually kill someone anyway. Unless we start offing people just for being stupid or crazy, this problem doesn't go away. Live with it.

I'm sure he's an asshole and a cancer-lover, but these twitter-led jihads against people who don't care about cycling just make us look like self righteous pricks. You know, like Lance. I hope Tony tells him to piss up a rope.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeGimpe

@LeGimpe: the problem, as Dave says, is that people don't have any sense of the potential consequences. if things like this are allowed to go unchallenged, no one will ever realize.

It's like the case of Tony Patrick in Ohio: the COP was so ignorant that what shouldn't have been an issue in the first place turned into a taser arrest, after which he didn't know what to charge the guy with.

If the police can be so ignorant, what chance does the average joe have?

And if people can be so ignorant about our very right to be in the road, what hope is there that they'll understand the right-hook problem, or the door problem?

Of Course, some people will be turned off by Lance lambasting the guy like this, but what Lance is quoted as twittering on the things I've seen isn't all that self-righteous. Much more important anyway is what happens when Lance goes on the guy's show, that's where there's some chance for some people to hear—probably for the first time—another side of the argument.

If just one person understands and changes his behavior a little, it could prevent a death.

If just one person realizes that there could be life-changing consequences to being reckless around a cyclist could, it could prevent a death.

We'll never know how many lives Lance saves by going on this guy's radio show.


The people who disagree—the people who hate cyclists already—won't think any less of anyone, or be any more reckless because of what Lance says.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIra

So does this mean that Jimmy "the greek" Snyder was a scientist? If someone taps me with a car, does that mean they would like a bat swung and nick their face? Is that the only comparison for a person to understand that driving is a privilege not a right? You share the road. Are murderers doing us a favor for killing people? After all they are saving earth by creating less demand on its resources. At some point people need to be fired and sent to common sense camp. There is so much irresponsibility just to get ratings. When is it going to stop?
Kornheiser needs to be fired!
I have never listened to his show and do not plan onto.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralex

I'm glad to see a person who is ostensibly a bicycle racer come out in support of bicycling as a mode of transportation in general. A lot of the racers I see around here only get on a bike during a race or training rides. Then they hop in their Escalades and go home.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToddBS

Dave, thanks for the perspective and for the link.

I'm listening to Lance now.

Korn-dude gave a straightforward apology — ESPN must have chewed him out.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRider

" I mean, it's shtick, people. Chill out."

It's not schtick. It's incitement to a crime. "Just tap them..." is a bit like saying "just shoot them a little." Would Kornheiser advocate "just tapping" a kid with a vehicle when the kid was skateboarding in the road? I very much doubt it. The man's not "just joking," he's calling on unstable lunatics to do violence to cyclists. Violence which could lead to life-long disability and death.

By the way, if it hadn't been for the cycling boom of the late 19th century, the road network might not have gotten started for decades more. So yes, in a way, cyclists do own the road. Our tax dollars support it. Disabuse yourself, Kornheiser, if you think car registrations account for the majority of funds for road building and maintenance. We've been here longer than motor vehicles. Cyclists are here to stay. So suck it up and get over it, Kornheiser.

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Well a prize idiot - a little tap - well I think he may get a "little" tap back from a cyclist he cant get away from

March 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJIm

Reminds me of a comment Mike Barnacle made about messengers in Boston, specifically his desire to stick his umbrella in one's front wheel as they rode by...

Snarky schticks can be funny, and they can go too far...

Intentionally bumping someone with your car sounds like attempted vehicular homicide to me?

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I've been on the receiving end of such a "tap". sockpuppet.ca/exray. The coward who did it lied and got away. The investigating cop manipulated it into something other than what it was, for all purposes aiding and abetting the miscreant who mutilated me.
Boneheads like Kornheiser should be held accountable for fanning the flames and suggesting such actions should be acceptable. In jest or not, the results are very serious.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergeoffrey

And so the obvious goes unnoticed…
Like those obnoxious scare and mass-forwarded emails, some people have lost the ability to detect fraud.
Or do they not care anymore because they have nothing else going on?

Lance only gives validity to farce; why? He just made an issue out of nothing, again why?

A person of integrity can’t dignify trite trash, so don’t bother refuting it.

So what do we do?


…nothing.

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

This is an important discussion to have. Way to go Lance for speaking out. Check out what Team zMotion is doing to promote bicycle safety in the state of Florida through our Ride Right,Drive Right initiative

March 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTeam zMotion

I had no idea who Tony Kornheiser was prior to this rant. From what I gather he is basically a second or third tier sports caster with a mediocre radio show. Now he's getting one of the best cyclist of all time to appear on his show and tons of media attention. I hate to say it, but it sounds like his little tirade is working out pretty well for him.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTCN

Yeah, I too was infuriated by this, and complained. I've also noticed an increase in anti-cyclist sentiments in advertising. AT&T is currently running an ad on MSN showing a cyclist on a cell phone riding on the sidewalk, talking on his phone, smashing into pedestrians. This is probably a corporate reaction to Ray La Hood's nationwide campaign against texting.

I love Lance, but he has a rogue side to him. Have you read his books? He needs to pull this ad off You Tube. Guys blowing through intersections with beer kegs on fixies? The kid flips his hat to show the "Mellow Johnny's" logo?

gimme a break.

Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkG89lusv4w

November 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

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