Speaking Your Mind
A sentence at the end of this article by BBC cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew struck a chord with me. If you don't follow cricket then you may not know that England are currently Down Under being dismantled piece y piece by the once-again-formidable Aussies in what many are describing as the lowest point in English cricket's in many of our lifetimes. Whilst I'm not an avid cricket fan I've been following things and happened to read this article which is fairly critical of the team, players and coaches alike. The comment in question is as follows:
"If commentators do not stand up and speak out, who will? Do we wait until a player punches another? That is the way we are heading. Enough is enough."
It's a very valid point and one that, given his public standing as a respected pundit, will be heard and taken note of. No doubt he will have made some enemies in doing this, but I applaud him for taing a stance.
I watched the first half of a film last night called Half The Road. It's one we are considering showing at ShAFF in April, and is a study of the disparity between men's and women's cycling. It's a fascinating documentary about what is, in reality, an utterly non-argument. There is absolutely no justifiable reason why there the men race longer, harder, more, and for more money. Yet it is the case. The UCI (cycling's international governing body) is as outdated in its beliefs and views as the IOC and FIFA in its attitudes and doesn't look like changing any time soon. However I think that one or two of the top riders and teams (well, let's face it, all of them, not just one or two) ought to take a leaf out of Agnew's book and stick their necks on the line and argue for parity between the sexes. Olympic cyclist Emma Pooley gives an interview in the film in which she describes how Garmin, arguably one of the more progressive-thinkging teams out there ditched their fledgling women's cycling team just a year after its launch because of a lack of funds (in the region of £200-300,000) whilst at the same time signing a new male rider for £400,000. Perhaps one or two of the pro riders on mega salaries, endorsement and incentive deals ought to make an even bigger name for themselves by offering half of their income to fund a female team-mate. Just an idea...