A new commission aimed at resolving the doping controversy that has consumed professional cycling since Operación Puerto first broke in 2012 was announced last night at a midnight press conference held on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall . The new commission will be conducted out of San Francisco and is timed to coincide with the Tour of California for maximum effect and exposure. The independent commission, The Pride and Prejudice Committee, will tackle other topical issues, specifically same sex marriage and the impending Supreme Court Ruling on California’s proposition 8..
The commission’s founder, Carlos Tucker, founder of designerdeveloper.org is a long time SF resident, cyclist, and outspoken activist on fairness issues. Tucker made himself available to NCCN after the short press conference which was hastily held on the warm San Francisco night. “The name came from the Austen novel,” said Tucker when asked why it was called the ‘Pride and Prejudice Committee’ “It’s a great story of people who act like morons, eventually stop being stupid, and start being happy.”
“The idea for a commission first came to me after reading that that cycling should have a “Truth and Reconciliation” commission. An action similar to what South Africa did after apartheid,” said Tucker when asked where the concept came from “I thought comparing drugs in cycling to apartheid was stupid and tasteless but I could see the need for a safe environment for riders to come clean. What better place to do that than in San Francisco, the home of peace, love, and acceptance.”
When asked how the two tied together Tucker was impatient and quick to reply. “I don’t know even where to start. It seems so obvious. Belgium, the emotional home of cycling, was the second country in the world to legalize same sex marriages. On top of that it’s probably one of the few professional sports where a high profile athlete could be in a same sex union and not be ostracized by their team and community. Cyclists may be elitist and snobby but they are accepting of pretty much anything. Just look at their outfits!”
Rachel Ballion, a representative of the International Cyclisme Organization weighed in with support, if not an outright endorsement. “While the UCI does not generally comment on Supreme Court decisions, we feel strongly that any political action, that might create an unfair advantage for a portion of the population, should be forbidden,” said Baillon on the ICO’s position. “This is a short way of saying either everybody should be able to get married, or nobody should be able to married. To our body, one committed to equality and fairness, resolutions of both issues, would be beneficial to cycling. We applaud the effort which is a different, but creative, take on several important issues.”
The reactions of both professional and amateur riders appeared to be overwhelmingly positive Sunday night as word of the commission spread around Twitter.
- @bike94110: I could forgive a doper if he’s on board with same sex anything! #p&pcomm
- @nearlysopro: It’s going to happen, let’s put 20 years of doping behind us and not wait 20 years to allow marriage #p&pcomm
- @brigzee: F-SCOTUS and F-DOPERS! I am gonna scream till they see the light #p&pcomm
“Logistically it’s difficult,” stated Tucker. ” We want to give a forum to former drug users to ask forgiveness, and simultaneously give the cycling community a venue to weigh in and support same sex unions. We think we can accomplish a lot and help move cycling, and America, out of a cultural backwater. There is no reason we should be behind the Netherlands, which was the first country to legalize same sex unions, in UCI points or social issues.”
Event coordinator Barclay Pollack said his phone had been ringing off the hook once word of the commission hit the street. “Since word got out I’ve been receiving calls non-stop from professionals and former professionals who want to say their piece on both issues. It seems that confessing a checkered past isn’t as intimidating if they can speak their conscience on an important political issue,” said Pollack when asked who might be attending. “I even received a call from one former cyclist, who asked not to be named, who said he could do for same sex unions what he did for cancer awareness. He even offered to get married as a publicity stunt for the right price. We declined but it was an intriguing offer.”
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