The Insider #2: “Dude, are you that stupid?”

Mon, 02/07/2011 - 12:19pm by Anthony Tan

The mention of sponsors’ names does nothing but rile the cynical mind of the sports journalist, writes Anthony Tan.

I now find myself back home in Sydney with all its creature comforts, after three weeks’ living out of my Samsonite suitcase presented by Hot Wheels, reporting at the Tour Down Under – sorry, Santos Tour Down Under – and then the Tour de Langkawi. Or should that be the Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi?

Yes, yes, I understand the need for sponsors but do we have to have it rammed down our throats like a newborn receives its first taste of something other than its mother’s milk? 

You see, when I bought the weekend paper to catch up on what else has been happening besides the incessant flooding and clean-up that pervades the state to the north of me (some call it Queensland, others Redneckville, ‘Straya), I discover the Aussie superfish Ian Thorpe, darling of the pool at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has decided on a comeback – probably because he didn’t have anything better to do and missed the limelight.

But at his press conference, instead of saying something like, “I still feel the best is ahead of me” or “I retired too early” or “I got bored with studying a university degree I probably wouldn’t use”, he kept mentioning the name “Virgin” and how the boss of Virgin Australia, John Borghetti, previously executive general manager of our country’s national air carrier, Qantas, was among the first he consulted when considering a comeback. The scene was made all the more ridiculous when Borghetti forgot who he was working for and declared: “And he will win many, many gold medals for Qantas… I… I can’t believe I just said that.”

What a plonker!

So far, in more than a decade of reporting what goes on in cycling, I haven’t heard an athlete dedicate his win to a team he/she no longer rides for – so far it seems only company execs are capable of that. Though with all the chopping and changing that goes on nowadays and fidelity a thing of the past for all but a few, I’m sure it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

What I have heard, however, is certain athletes bang on about their sponsors in their victory speeches or post-race press conferences: “Oh, man, I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates and Sponsor A and Sponsor B and while we’re at it let’s not forget Sponsors C and D, either. And did I mention Sponsor U gave me the money to bring my Mom over here, who happens to be wearing the clothes of my team by Sponsor Y?”

C’mon, guys. To quote Lance Armstrong to AFP journalist Justin Davis before the second stage of the Tour Down Under, when Davis continued to prod LA about certain former US Postal team-mates’ allegations contained in a Sports Illustrated article, “Dude, are you that stupid?”

Really, when is the last time you saw an athletes’ quotes praising sponsors – even mentioning sponsors – included within the copy of a reputable publication?

It just doesn’t happen.

So if it doesn’t get printed, why say it, I ask?

My advice to those riders happy with whatever their sponsors give them in money or kind is to simply say, “Thank you very much”, use/wear whatever swag they give you, send them an occasional signed jersey if you win a mildly significant stage or race, and be done with it.

Just don’t bother telling us. Because we don’t care.

The Insider is a new feature on NYVelocity by Anthony Tan. In what will be a regular on NYVC, Anthony will contribute by way of podcasts with various industry folk, canvassing topics others are reluctant to discuss – as well as talking plenty of crap – and from time to time, he’ll also write a column about what really goes on behind the scenes in cycling’s major league, keeping the teams and those within on their tippy toes.

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yeah man
By: sweet sassy
Tue, 10/01/2013 - 5:54pm

this almost makes me miss eli.

Once again Tan, you've shown
By: Stan Saddlesore
Tue, 10/01/2013 - 6:09am

Once again Tan, you've shown yourself to be someone who is without a clue. If you don't like your job.......
Kind regards
Stan Saddlesore

My Sponsors Think Anthony Tan loves Cats
By: Jack Russell
Fri, 04/01/2011 - 5:56pm

Yes, I got banged up in Central Park, but my Katusha Rocket Factory peeps helped me get back on that bitch and bang home another big win for Purina/Garmin/PetSmart. I wouldn't be peeing on the podium without the support from K-9 Viagrrrrra supplements and a bit o' clenbuterol from that Taco Bell Grande I scarfed from the gutter. Woof! Woof!

why not?
By: Stan B in CA
Tue, 02/15/2011 - 11:20pm

I wonder why not just take your dissing of sponsors to the next level? You clearly are not that serious about it, Mr. Tan. The real winners of this game are some cycling editors that control the Lance Armstrong entry and other cycling entries on Wikipedia.org. With a few keystrokes, they [purposely] eliminated the 2005 Discovery Channel team from existence there. Hey, so what if Discovery spent millions on that team in 2005, right?

By: Wheelbilly
Thu, 02/10/2011 - 7:53pm

So I read this article and would now like to comment on it, but first I would like to thank everyone who helped make it possible for me to read this article: my bike manufacturer, my glasses supplier, my parts dealer. . . . .

Dude are you that stupid
By: Sacha Setscrew
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 9:39am

Are you fu@$nuckles serious?! What's with the way OTT vitriol? Like a bunch of drag queens with your panties twisted.

Good point well made Tanman. Don't sweat it mate.

By: West Coast Reader
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 2:43am

I just want a reporter to get the low down of what happened in a race, the attacks, who, why, details. The chase, why, who, when, details. The win, who, how, details.

Instead, advertising... and people wonder why I say journalism is dead and shock media is all that's left.

Winners are reported on like something of no consequences or cause of effort to get there, the story behind the win is squashed down next to the gutter and the reporter instead asks how the riders feels and gets a family quote... I like family but unless they were physically pushing the rider to the finish line they need to be in the background and not the foreground of the story in relation to the win. Some next day reporter can get the life/family view story after race site has been cleaned up.

you'd have to pay me to wear a yellow wristband
By: Welcome to the No Fredcast Zone
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 1:18am

Was wondering when someone would bring that up.
(addressing Marchionne Rim)
The difference is that the advertising's softer, barring the Caravan before every stage (which I'd actually like to see aired a bit), and not shoved down our throats non-stop for an entire month as many others would have it, if they could get their way.

The TanMan has a heart and lives in Oz
By: Welcome to the No Fredcast Zone
Wed, 02/09/2011 - 1:01am

Have to disagree with you on that knee jerk assessment.
(addressing Thibault Ziptie)
If you know anything about Anthony Tan, it's that he's not afraid to look at this goofy sport (which I love) and tell it like he sees it which, thank-god, differs from the cookie cutter bs we all hear... esp. in July when P&P are in full form.

By: Thibault Ziptie
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 10:55pm

You guys should be able to find a better writer than A.T.
See the nyvelocity banner, see the third rider from the left, that's what I think about his journalism.

It's about the money...
By: Marchionne Rim
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 10:09pm

Lest we forget the Tour de France originated to promote tourism and travel.

By: 700x25
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 9:57pm

Contingency programs by the likes of Oakley and Nike pay out for being pictured with products, mentioning products etc- what would you do?
You would take the cash because your sporting career is so short.

Sponsors =
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 5:56pm

More races, more prizes, more interest in the sport. Yes, it feels "dirty" to promote products in the name of sport. But most successful World-class sports do the same; Formula 1, Golf, Tennis, NASCAR. If bike racing is to survive at this level, athletes need to work for their sponsors.

he's spot on!
By: new and improved!
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 12:55pm

yeah it's fucking annoying! you lot are going on about how it's necessary? i don't think it's necessary after every interview to parrot a list of your sponsors in monotone. exactly how effective is that? are we even listening at that point anyway? the worst offenders are naming rights to stadiums. citi field? the staples center? wtf is that? the worst part about it, is when the contract runs out and then they sell the rights to some other company, and then we have to get used to calling the field another name. i hope the steinbrenner's never sell out. i could never get used to calling yankee stadium tampax stadium or whatever they come up with.

...& btw, yah...
By: Matteo Dropout
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 8:00am

...may the tour de france always & forever remain simply "le tour de france"...

...anything added to the name would only make it an ugly anomaly...

...comme toujours, avec l'amour, bgw...

...sponsor mentions ???...
By: Matteo Dropout
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 7:47am

...see nascar drivers...

...their consistency in front of the cameras seems overblown at times but, damn, son...them ol' boys git 'er done...

...with love, bgw...

Off topic
By: MQ
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 4:52am

Ok I know they're in Qatar. (pronounced) KATTAR not Kater. Brian Williams.
but can anyone say camel toe?

I'm on TanMan's side on
By: let's not get fi'zi:k - ill
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 4:11am

I'm on TanMan's side on this.
There's a reason that the Tour de France will never become the Givenchy Tour de France.
Some of us understand that plastering the crap out of everything with logos and advertising lessens it.
But I don't really expect cyclists to understand this.
Look at the gear they use and the clothing they wear.
Never seen more logo happy bunch of shills in my life than the average Sunday cyclist.
(esp. when they never see a single penny for flashing it)

dude, you're a sports writer.
By: sven nys
Tue, 02/08/2011 - 12:05am

dude, you're a sports writer. don't complain about the fact that your subjects talk a bunch of vapid bullshit. don't like your job? don't bother telling us. because we don't care.

By: Henry Fco
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 10:02pm

i sponsored a guy once, he was so grateful about it that he wanted to tatoo our brand on his back, I told him not to do so. No sponsors, no money, no sport, no NYVC page and no work for Anthony.

I have to say
By: Maxence Sealant
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 9:06pm

That article was pretty weak. Why do you care if they mention their sponsors? Why the F would that bother you? Yeesh. Dude, are YOU that bored?

Shake n' Bake
By: Helmut Gescheint
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 5:25pm
By: West Coast Reader
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 4:43pm

Its advertising... what's so hard about that? Does Anthony know all the adverts on the right column are shown in his article? Is he that Stupid?

Anthony Tan is very foolish
By: Chance Legstrong
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 3:55pm

Anthony Tan is very foolish in having written this article - but at least the world now knows to never allow him to be employed on the marketing or PR-side of the sport. He's a purist, after all.

Maybe he should head inland and start reporting on pick-up games of cricket - sponsor free.

shit article
By: .
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 3:15pm

Whats even more annoying is an article saying how annoying said sponsor ship is.My advice to Anthony Tan, next time you want to write an article cycling related, don't.

Chocolate-covered cotton
By: Monorchid Conconi
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 3:09pm

What's good for M & M Enterprises will be good for the country.

errr Anthony uncharacteristically foolish article
By: watts_your_problem
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 2:55pm

Run out of ideas to write about??? Its annoying but they pay the bills, they help bring cycling biggest races to our TV sets, they allow for our young riders to have hopes of making a living out of the sport etc etc. And much more. The least I can do is put up with riders plugging their sponsors, since in effect I reap the rewards of viewing free of charge. And no buying a bike or some sort of equipment is not considered supporting cycling.

try watching the interview of
By: Maxime Headbadge
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 1:37pm

try watching the interview of the top 3 finishers of a motocross race...i can't decide what is more annoying, the rambling list of sponsors they thank or the oddly placed gulps of redbull or monster energy drink from a water bottle...

Mentioning sponsors
By: Robin Sealant
Mon, 02/07/2011 - 12:44pm

Riders mention sponsors because that's what they're actually getting paid to do. Riding and winning is so that we spectators will pay attention to them at all. They are corporate spokesmodels, better-paid Podium Boys. But - so it goes. That's where the money is, after all. Without sponsors and money, they're all so many guys on Thursday Night Worlds rides.

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