It is my belief that politicians trying to convince the public to vote their way generally use fear, sentimentality or both to evoke an emotional response. It is my belief that a coaches position at the FINA bureau is in ASCA's best interest and not in any way shape or form in the athlete's best interest. Athletes need a union not a governing body that makes tens-of-millions-of-dollars off their aquatic labor and then gives them nothing in return.
I am not a fan of ASCA and I have criticized John Leonard's on the Swimming World message boards on at least one or two occasions. Apparently Mr. Leonard may have insisted, and I want to make it clear that this is a guess, that Swimming World turn off the message board for his Op Ed so as to free him from having to confront what he may view as shrill or unflattering criticism and thereby not be forced to defend his position. I don't know, this is merely a guess/opinion. Take my opinion at face value but I must ask, why is the comment option turned off for just his article?
So, since I cannot voice my critique at Swimming World, I will voice it here.
Here is a snippet from the article my response below it:
And surely in a sport dominated by professional athletes and coached by Professional Coaches, the input from one of those professional coaches cannot be anything but a wonderful assistance to the volunteers of the FINA Bureau.
Swimming is NOT dominated by professional athletes, that statement is demonstrably absurd. Swimming is populated with swimmers who can barely scrape together their daily bread without the help of parents, colleges, or friends. In the United States you can count on one hand how many swimmers make a middle class income or better.
This nonsense that swimmers are professionals because if they win a moderately big meet it could translate into a $20,000 check does not wash either. The training cost, traveling expenses, accommodation fees, and taxes will erase at least 60% of those winnings and that is assuming that the "professional" in question won the meet not just one race. Ask yourself this, What do swimmers make if they "just" made it to the final?
It has been my observation as of late that any coach that reaches the rarefied air of governing body politics is, in my opinion, essentially a "Yes-Men" to the governing body that put them there and pays them handsomely. Allowing a "coach vote" will simply double-down the power of the governing bodies thereby out voting individual swimmer interests.
Also, in my opinion, governing bodies do not want professional swimmers, nor unionized swimmers who tell the execs at USA Swimming, "Hey, 10 people on your executive staff make $2.7-million dollars, how about FIFTY of us swimmers divide up $2.7-million dollars like you guys do?" If they did, USA Swimming would still have 25-million or so to spend of furniture and websites.
I think this is a very dark hour for Swimming World and this is something they should be embarrassed about. They gave John Leonard a soap box and allowed the readers no chance to leave a response or rebuttal. Disabling comments so as to stifle public criticism of an OP Ed when the comments section is alive and well for other Op Eds gives the appearance that somebody has very "thin skin" in my opinion.
Why is it that one man can use the extraordinary credibility of Swimming World; (trust me when I say that Swimming World has extraordinary "street cred"), to make a political statement which subsequently gives the appearance that Swimming World endorses his views without allowing the "voters" in his proverbial "democracy" the ability to voice their opinions back at him?
If anybody wants thriving professional in our sport it is FINA. Keep governing body "Yes-Men" out of the way. Return tech suits back to swimming so that athletes will have something to sell in exchange for an honest living.
The photo is licensed under Creative Commons.