Adam Nelson, President of the TFAA, announced that Nike has come out in support of Athletes Rights, in a story by Ken Goe of OregonLive.com on Friday, April 4. In the story, Nike issued the following release:
"Nike spoke with the TFAA and stated that we respect athlete's rights to affiliate and align as they choose. Nike was a company founded in running and we have a rich history of supporting all our athletes. We are extremely proud to support athletes around the world, enabling them to pursue their goals and perform at the highest levels."
(Editor's notes: The heightened concern and frustrations resulted from the lack of response by USA Track & Field to questions by TFAA resulting from Andrew Bumbalough's DQ in Albuquerque, which was not resolved, as had the Gabe Grunewald DQ.
USATF issued a statement post-TFAA statement, notely, quite bizarely, that and I quote, "athletes already have a voice in USATF".
This has become a PR nightmare for USATF. The arrogance showed, in ignoring TFAA's request for resolution in Mr. Bumbalough's case, the inability to explain the Bumbalough DQ, and the inability to reschedule the TFAA/USATF discussion of that situation, shows that, at the very least, USATF has little idea how it is perceived in the sport and most importantly, may not even care. So much for an organization that has been stressing transparency of its operations. This Albuquerque crisis is now an official train wreck. It could have been handled in an hour conversation and a press release, now, bitter feelings, distrust and frustration have simmered for over a month.
If the Andrew Bumbalough situation had been handled by Max Siegel in a similar manner to how he used his position and statesmanship to sooth the frustrated and work out the situation with Gabe Grunewald, much of this crisis would have been avoided.
Kudos to Nike for reaching out to Adam Nelson and reminding fans that Nike started built around the needs of athletes. Hopefully, USATF will see the light. )
Ken Goe's complete column may be read at: