Sunday, August 9, 2015

Seattle's Nick Symmonds is off the world championship team...

So much for budging.

Nick Symmonds (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle based Brooks Beasts, and reigning USA national champion at 800 meters, posted Sunday night on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts that he has been left off the squad that will represent the USA at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Beijing for his refusal to sign the mandatory athlete statement of conditions required to compete.

USA Track & Field will formally announce the roster Monday.

Over the last several days, Symmonds, who was a two-time Olympian at 800 meters, and won a world championship silver medal in Moscow, Russia two years ago  has contended that the athlete statement of conditions letter violates his contract with his sponsor, Seattle-based Brooks Running, in that USA Track & Field requires him to wear Team USA apparel made by Nike at all team functions.

While he has no problem racing in the Nike kit (Symmonds was sponsored by Nike until the end of the 2013 season), USATF’s interpretation of “team functions” is broad, and not specific.  He contends that he can’t leave the team hotel to have a cup of coffee without having to wear either Nike or non-branded apparel.  He’s also loudly wondered if he’s supposed to wear Nike gear from the time the plane leaves Seattle for the training camp in Japan to the end of the final athletes’ dinner in Beijing.

Symmonds has gone as far as to offer help USATF CEO Max Siegel and the USATF board in rewriting the athlete statement of conditions in such a way that the federation can protect its financial interests, while striking a balance with the athletes’ individual rights to acknowledge their individual sponsors.

One aspect of the whole Symmonds versus USA Track & Field showdown that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact that USATF’s Athletes Advisory Committee, which is supposed to be the athletes’ advocate in these matters, has been silent.

When the NFL announced that quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots would face disciplinary action from the league for his alleged role in deflating footballs used in their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFLPA (players’ union) was quick to defend him.  In other major professional sports, whenever a player is being disciplined, the union automatically provides assistance.

Haven't seen 1 statement from T&F Athlete Advisory on Nick Symmonds confrontation with USATF. I thought they're suppose to be advocates, wow”

He then goes to ask, “And what has the Athletes Advisory done to assist Nick in his battle? Where is the statement of issue or support? “

“ALL T&F ATHLETES and any supposed athlete advisory should be support this stance. You're either all together or not”

Pryor then tweeted, “Think about this: The AAC chair is also a USATF brand ambassador---> can u say conflict of interest? No wonder no support for Nick Symmonds”

The USATF Athletes Advisory Committee chair is retired long jumper and four-time world champ & 2004 Olympic champ Dwight Phillips.

Symmonds followed up his tweet by stating that he is “Proud to have stood my ground and fought another battle for athletes’ rights. A huge thank you to the media and fans for all your support”

He then tweeted, “Tomorrow I will present proof that @USATF is stealing millions of dollars from the athletes, getting rich off the hard work of #TeamUSA.”

The mainstream media has picked up the story of Symmonds’ plight, including ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.  Curiously enough, the local Seattle sports media has not picked up on the story.

Brooks' sports marketing manager Jesse Williams tweeted within the last hour, "@NickSymmonds will be paid his World Team bonus from @brooksrunning as he won @usatf champs & deserves it! #LetNickRun #Beijing15"

Whether you agree or disagree with his beliefs and the way he’s gone about this, Symmonds has made things interesting in the run-up to Beijing.

No comments:

Blog Archive