Monday, June 30, 2008

'Speedo' admits paying USA Olympic Swimming Coach Mark Shubert to endorse Speedo!

TYR is suing Speedo and USA Swimming for anti-trade practices which in my opinion are so obvious and so overt it boggles my mind that the only press publications being objective about this lawsuit are coming from outside the swimming spectrum. TYR is being portrayed as the villain and Speedo the poor, innocent, innovator. See SwimNews if you don't believe me.

With that said the L.A. Times has been quite fair with this lawsuit: here are some restated quotes about TYR's management practices from Coach Mark Shubert from an L.A. Times article:

"... USA Swimming's head coach, Mark Schubert, took jabs at TYR Sport, which is suing him, USA Swimming, Warnaco Swimwear Inc. -- the parent company of Speedo -- and swimmer Erik Vendt in connection with the LZR Racer swimsuit. The antitrust lawsuit alleges that there was a conspiracy to steer swimmers to Speedo.

Schubert, who has steadfastly refused to comment on the lawsuit, Saturday took pains to compliment Nike, which has been allowing its sponsored athletes to experiment with high-tech suits from other manufacturers. He said Nike shows it wants its athletes to succeed. ..." [Link]

Now, consider this: Mark Shubert set up a quasi-demonstration of the LZR in Manchester, England at the FINA SCM Championships. The meeting was mandatory and according to the TYR lawsuit brief, some athletes felt "hard sold." If Shubert is all for swimsuit choice, then why didn't he demo all the swimsuits so they could "...experiment with high-tech suits from other manufacturers" and why did he just demo the Speedo?

Now compare his credibility as a unbiased coach and a moral authority in regards to swimsuit choice in a court filling by a Speedo exec in regards to the Speedo lawsuit. From the L.A. Times:

".... But an earlier filing, a declaration attached from Stu Isaac, a Speedo senior vice president, stated that Schubert is a paid spokesman for the company, which backs up TYR's assertion.

Now I read the Ted Stevens Act
twice through today. The Stevens Act summarily created the concept of National Governing Body status. In my opinion, USA Swimming is not a business like the NFL or the NBA. Those organizations are businesses and can use their for-profit status to endorse, or forward the aims and interests of those that pay them "mad bank" to do so.

It's my interpretation that National Governing Bodies such as USA Swimming can't use their non-profit status as a for-profit engine so as to set up swimsuit monopolies for those such as Speedo or anybody else. USAS is a non-profit governing body set up by the United States Senate. What USAS overtly or covertly endorses essentially is endorsed by the auspices of the US government. It can't be done in my opinion.

Now for my tastes, the proper way for an endorsement deal to take place would be for USAS to state out loud that Speedo pays their bills and then state they are thankful for the cash but they won't say which suit is the best then I could live with that.

So, the TYR case has been moved to September 15th. How coincidental that is is after the games.


Anonymous said...

Exactly on point! The suit controversy is not the only place USA Swimming is doing pulling these stunts, take a look at their meet coverage arrangements.

Tony Austin said...

I would like to know more? I know that Floswimming got hosed out of WMG nonsense but need to know of any other instances.