Tuesday’s with Dirty: Around the Horn Absurdity

It’s official: Cycling is still not a main stream sport in the United States. It doesn’t matter how many people you see on the road riding. It doesn’t matter how much Jeff Novitzky‘s crusade to bring down Lancey Pants is in the media. We still don’t exist to most Americans. That’s fine, I don’t really have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the talking heads on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” mocking Flecha and Hoogerland for getting hit by a car in stage 9 of the Tour. I have watched that crash repeatedly and not once have I considered laughing. Maybe my expectations are too high for a show with such a huge audience. Maybe I am over reacting to what was said. Either way, it made my blood boil when I heard it. If you have been cycling for any amount of time, you have either been hit by a car or know somebody that has. Every time that I have been hit, I have walked away. But I have friends that have not been so fortunate. I know people  that have been seriously injured, like our own Big Jonny, and now live in daily pain, or other friends that are now permanently disabled. I have even experienced the unfortunate reality of knowing two people that have lost their lives while riding. Never once have I considered laughing.

I mentioned this topic on the DC Facebook page and it generated enough response that I thought a full on post was warranted. I am not much of an angry letter writer, but I did just that yesterday. I would encourage you to listen to this show’s pod cast and decide for yourself if it is worth sending an email. It doesn’t have to be irate or mean, I just want to let ESPN know that we are out here, we are listening, and we didn’t approve of what we heard. The stupidity starts around 13 minutes in:


“Does it make me a bad person for laughing every time I see that crash..” –Michael Smith.

Hey Mikey, it sure does, and around these parts it makes you the number one douchebag. Would you laugh at an NFL player breaking his neck in a tackle? An MLB player getting hit in the face with a fastball? What about an NBA player breaking his ankle coming down from a dunk? Didn’t think so.

ESPN contact info:


General Customer Care E-mail.

* Update from Granny in the comments: you can write their ombudsman

Snail mail:

Attn: Around The Horn
ESPN Plaza
Bristol, CT 06010

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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds and single malt. Currently in Asheville, NC

79 thoughts on “Tuesday’s with Dirty: Around the Horn Absurdity

  1. I sent those assclowns an e-mail yesterday. I suggest you all do the same. It’s asses like this that encourage other asses behind the wheel to hit us while we ride bikes.

    Michael Smith is, in fact, a Bobby Fucking Bigwheels.

  2. if you listen in the beginning, they are laughing about the crash from the git go… knowing that it was an upcomming segment of their bcast. listen closer and it sounds like the microphones cut in just after they were talking about the crash and laughing.

    then towards the end they berate the TDF for “the way it is run and the drugs involved” as if every other sport they yank their cranks for doesn’t have the same issues.

  3. There are so many points wrong with that little segment. One says I hope there is no damage to the right rear fender of the car. Another says, “we dont want them on the road on our way to work…”. Neither one of those two commentators mentioned hoping everyone was ok. The only redeeming part about Smith’s comment was that he said he was glad no one was seriously hurt.

  4. write their ombudsman.

    point out the recent pattern at espn of commentators who voice a callous and sociopathic disregard for fellow humans. in your message, ask them if the companies that pay to advertise at espn think this stuff is funny!

    “If Peyton Manning crashed onto a barbed-wire fence and returned to a game, you’d never hear the end of it for the rest of your life.” Jason Gay

  5. It was Woody Paige saying, “We don’t want bikes on the road with us when we’re going to work.” I live a few blocks from where he works. I don’t want ignorant, belligerent armchair quarterbacks’ commuter tanks on the road when *I’m* riding to work, either, Woodster.

  6. I wrote my letter this morning.

    When I wake up tomorrow and the first thing I feel is pain, I’m going to think about Woody Paige and how much harder I am than him.

    Sexual harassment much, Woody? That suit was tossed because there was an arbitration clause in the woman’s employment contract, not because the evidence against you was insufficient.



    You’re a bum. I am harder than you.

  7. ath@espn.com seemed to work for me. Jim Rome, BTW, was the first I heard commenting on the TdF as a joke, so Michael Smith isn’t even original.

  8. I’m not gonna click on the link to listen to that shite cause doing so puts money in their coffers by way of advertising exposure and I already know they’re a bunch of lowlife never-was-wishin-were-a-has-been losers.


  9. Rome has been bashing cycling ever since he couldn’t figure out how to balance on his own two wheels.

    yet, ESPN has evidently determined that poker is a sport.

  10. I generally enjoy ESPN radio except when these knuckleheaded neanderthals try to discuss any sport that’s not “American,” like cycling or soccer, AKA football to the rest of the planet. They show such ignorance of the skill, talent, dedication and unbelievable toughness of the Europro riders that any body with a passing interest or knowledge of true sports should and would respect. Peyton Manning, Steven Jackson, etc, etc, gets a bruised rib and gets out of the game immediately and a week off before he has to “play through the pain.” Hoogerland, Flecha, Contador, etc, etc, have to get their abraded asses back on the saddle and ride to the finish, no matter how far, or they go home, for good. These ESPN guys are pathetic.

    Another thing – how did they find a new pair of shorts with enough room for Hoogerland’s enormous balls? If any of the guys at ESPN had 10% of his testicals they would have saluted and celebrated his toughness.

  11. YES! Gary Fisher is even getting it done on his twitter ( http://twitter.com/…Gary_Fisher )

    “@MrMichael_Smith step down Mr Smith. We will take you down. You are toast.”

    “@MrMichael_Smith you are not cool. I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE! stupid, eat s and die…”

  12. I’m sure if ESPN were covering the race, an apology would have been made immediately.

  13. I think you guys are barking up the wrong tree complaining straight to ESPN. They won’t give a damn. Think back to the show, who were the sponsors? That’s who you need to complain to. I gave up on ESPN years ago but I would guess there were beer commercials, car commercials, big banks & or insurance companies. Any who ever hope to sell anything in Europe? Seems to me Budweiser is now owned by a Belgian company. Any Bud or Busch commercials? I don’t think they would want their sponsorship of a show with an attitude like that being discussed in Belgium. Kick the ass of the sponsors & you just might get a reaction.

  14. Take away their cars for a week and give them all a bicycle to get to work. Bet their views would change real fast.

    Ignorance breeds stupidity, and this is a pretty strong case.

  15. half pint nails it. around the horn is sponsored by hanes brands and pizza hut. click over to the corporate websites and ask them if they like being associated with intolerance towards cyclists and ask them if they think cars plowing down cyclists is funny.

  16. DC thanks for posting this I was not aware of the stupid behavior of ESPN but since you have alerted me to their round table of ass clowns I have sent an email to them with my thoughts on the matter. I do find it odd that the rest of the world (from what I can see on VN and Facebook) is lauding Johnny Hoogerland as heroic and praising his courage while the clowns at ESPN think it was funny that he was flung into barbed wire at 40+ kph. As I told them in the email No Class ESPN, they wouldn’t know courage or funny if it …. well ran over them in a car.


  17. Something I find particularly troubling about this segment was the doping rant from Bill Plaschke. This clip had nothing to do with doping. It had everything to do with a TV driver not paying attention to what he was doing, sending two harder than hell guys to stick-to-the-sheetsburg, followed by those two harder than hell guys getting up and kicking ass all the way to the stage finish. Nothing to do with doping.

    I get that most of my country isn’t as into cycling as I am. But since I’m also a baseball fan I understand that cycling isn’t the only sport made to look ridiculous by its biggest stars being doped to the gills in recent decades. 1998 was the year of Festina AND Mark McGwire, after all.

    Here’s the difference: When McGwire and Sosa and Bonds and Clemens happened, I don’t recall a whole lot of European sportswriters questioning the very legitimacy of their sport. That’s what these clowns are doing, friends. This attitude has been consistent among their general (non-cycling-specific) commentary ever since ESPN2 stopped covering the tour. (Maybe longer; my poor ass didn’t have cable for much of the 90s). If ESPN truly wants to be the “worldwide” leader, I think they should consider a different approach.

  18. ESPN & SI are full of blow-hard idiots that do little fact checking or provide any real use to sports or fans thereof. I sent my letter & signed the petition as I don’t care to listen to this crap when I do watch TV.

  19. Maybe @MrMichael_Smith will be the next Marv Albert caught with a hooker biting her back in a hotel. THAT would be funny.

  20. I don’t think they were laughing at anyone getting hurt.

    Me, I do laugh at almost every wreck I see in a bike race. I love the wrecks. I laugh when race car drivers wreck as well. Not because I want to see anybody hurt or dead.

    And you might consider some of there other points…the TDF is a joke, run like a JOKE…IT MIGHT AS WELL BE PRO WRESTLING!…I’d like to think it is getting better but the fact that AC is racing tells me it is probably not.

    And yeah, I’ve watched every stage and love it.

  21. He did apologize, however this earlier tweet of his makes the “apology” ring a little untrue for me:

    @MrMichael_Smith It had far been too long since I’d angered an entire community. Today I’ve managed offend cyclists everywhere. Guess what? It’s still funny.

    What a Fucktard

  22. Letter written.

    On another note, I had an interesting encounter with a car full of people tonight. One guy (the drunk one) yelled, “Do it! Lance,” which made me laugh, because I have yelled the same thing at cyclist (I wasn’t always a cyclist. Long story short, we ended up talking about the tour at the red light, and he (drunk as he was) mentioned how serious the crash was and how hard Hoogerland and Flecha are. This is a man, who with good odds, watches terrible sports shows.

    It’s happening, slowly, but it is happening. In the mean time, keep turning those cranks and stay safe.

  23. the Eurosport UK guys just gave the ESPN knuckle-draggers a dig. And with a much classier delivery i might add.

  24. Not impressed with Smith’s apology. Tired of jackasses doing retarded stuff and then saying I’am sorry in a half-assed sort of way.

  25. A little conversation between Mikey and a fan over on the Twitters:

    @MrMichael_Smith All of these people attempting to ruin ur life and ur the jerk? It was a joke. Just like these people attacking u. A joke.

    -@MrMichael_Smith @WilliamsR24 thanks man. believe me i’m good. not gonna succeed.

  26. Pizza Hut came back with a seemingly apologetic email, Hanes, form letter, and ESPN also a form letter. There is no remorse from Smith and I am sure he was coached in an apology. Surprise, nothing is coming of this.

  27. Just Tweeted this BS. If these clowns ever got off their fat asses long enough to ride around the block they still wouldn’t have a clue about the respect pro cyclists deserve. Thanks for the heads up on this.

  28. I wrote a few polite yet outraged letters, though I suspect Mr. Trailer Park #45 is correct.

    Good thing I don’t watch TV.

  29. Might be best just to ignore dumb ass comments that are made for the purpose of getting publicity.

  30. Walt is long dead. His head stored safely away. Or so some idiots say.

    Disney is a piranha corporation.

    Petition signed, and tweets sent, but good luck changing their minds.

  31. There is a thread on this over at cyclingnews forums. One of the people there has listed all of the sponsors of the show.

    The thread is here:


    The sponsor list is here:


    I think you will get a lot further going after the sponsors where the real heat comes from. I was surprised and disappointed to see on the sponsor list Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Jostens. Two organizations that deal with kids – kids that ride bikes.

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  33. Get off your high horses people. There is no way that ANY of you have never said or done something similar to that in your lives. If you actually WATCHED the show, you would know that he was not laughing at the rider getting hit, but at the fact that the driver drove off. I am a biker and a bike mechanic and in no way am I laughing at the situation that happened in the tdf, but you guys are taking this waaaay too far. So someone said something that offended you big fucking deal get over it. When did we become a nation of such fucking pussies that anytime someone says something that offends anyone we instantly want them fired and try to drag them over hot coals. Seriously, it is time for you people to harden the fuck up.

  34. Wrong answer.

    I don’t care when people say stupid shit. I do care when people say stupid shit that can potentially get me killed.

    Speaking of high horses…

  35. ” I do care when people say stupid shit that can potentially get me killed.”

    Holy crap…now the comments might kill you. Proving Nick’s comments about what this Nation has become.

  36. hey tough guys(nick and yoro)…please see above “Would you laugh at an NFL player breaking his neck in a tackle? An MLB player getting hit in the face with a fastball? What about an NBA player breaking his ankle coming down from a dunk? ”

    It is not something that would happen with one of the big three sports why would it happen when a cyclist gets hit by a car? The size of their audience and the amount of influence they have on non cyclists is huge. I just expect more. If Brett Favre tripped over a barbed wire fence then started the game the next day and won..people would be naming their kids after him for years to come.

    Cyclists as a community have to stick together. If we don’t speak up about something like this now, then when? When another person dies or gets put in a wheelchair? At the risk of sounding “like a nation of such fucking pussies”, I’m going to have to disagree with you guys.

  37. D2, I truly do understand why you are hypersensitive about the subject, since you said that you have been hit more than once and been very lucky to be alive. I have been lucky enough to avoid being hit in my commuting to school and work. That being said, I do feel like everyone is overreacting here. The great thing about the country we live in is that we are allowed to have opinions and express them with minimal to no worries. As of late, we as a population have fallen out of that and everyone is too concerned with being politically correct and too worried about offending a person, community or culture and it truly irritates me that our basic freedom of speech is being impeded by overly sensitive people. It is ok to be outraged, offended and pissed, it really is. But to try to ruin a mans lively hood because of a comment, not an action, is way more out of line then what he said. I seriously doubt that one remark made by a sportswriter will potentially get you killed.

  38. Ok db, both guys who went down got back on, so neck breaking isn’t even close.

  39. Nick,

    Good points, but I still disagree.

    This guy has a bully pulpit from which to spew his uninformed and potentially dangerous comments. Some dumbass listening to him might be encouraged to hit a cyclist because it seems socially acceptable to do so the more guys like Michael Smith desensitize people to it.

    Believe me, I agree with you that there’s too much infringement on freedoms of speech, but this is not one of those cases. He has a microphone in front of him and thousands and thousands of listeners who will hear that and agree with him. That, to me, is dangerous, and I don’t want to end up on the hood of a car because some uneducated, ignorant, road-rage asshole decided, hell, Michael Smith might just be right. Fuck these cyclists. I’m takin’ him out.

  40. YoRo: you ever been hit by a car? Fallen off your bike? I bet you have no idea how close you were to breaking your neck even in a minor fall. Me vs. Car: Car always wins.

  41. we all talk about freedom of speech and i’m a believer of the right to free speech. Let’s not forget FREEDOM COMES WITH RESPONSIBILITY AND CONSIDERATION FOR OTHER PEOPLE. say what ever you want without any thoughts or consideration for other people on TV? i’d call it insensitive, obnoxious not freedom of speech. and Michael Smith’s words are his actions, that what he does for living

  42. D2, You have every right to disagree and I do respect your opinion, but I would make the argument that if someone is stupid enough to make a decision like that because of what they heard someone else say then there are more issues with that person then we know. I try to be optimistic about people that in general if one found themselves in a situation like the one you just stated they would make the right decision and just let it be rather than run someone down. That being said, there are just some sick people in this world and would probably run down a cyclist just because they are crazy, not so much because of what they heard from a sports columnist.

  43. YoRo – you are addressing the point of whether it matters more in that 1) you, the viewer in the confines of his comfortable living room thought there was a reasonable chance the victim might suffer a serious or life threatening injury, or 2) that victim himself thought he could be killed. I think it is far to easy to sit here on Monday morning after the game and say, hey, no blood, no foul. I do not think that is the appropriate conclusion to draw from this.

    We have your statement. Now compare that with what Johnny Hoogerland said:

    I’m still alive. Wouter Weylandt wasn’t that lucky.


    And, to balance your daft commentary conclusion with that of another spectator to the incidence, granted one with a vested interest in the outcome, Johnny Hoogerland’s father, compare it with the statement of Cees Hoogerland regarding the fence post:

    “I think it saved Johnny’s life,” he said. “It broke his fall – if you look closely at the pictures, you can see that he would have fallen on his back or head. Who knows how it could have turned out.”


    The point is this was a serious incident. The fact that both of these men were hard enough to get up and finish the stage in no way minimizes the severity of the incident. It just means that they are two damn tough bastards. This isn’t a case of no blood, no foul. This could have been a lot worse than it was. To dismiss the very real possibility this incident could have been a homicide is to sit and laugh like those clueless bastards on ESPN. We cannot excuse violence done to cyclists as entertainment. This is part of the culture of blame which minimizes the concerns of all cyclists. Me, you, and our children. We deserve better than this.

  44. Sure, Nick, agreed again. But you’re discounting personal responsibility on the part of the commentator who took it upon himself to belittle a potentially life-threatening situation in front of an impressionable audience of thousands or millions.

    He has to answer for his own actions, just as any person behind the wheel of a car would. Personal responsibility for all parties involved…

  45. D2, do you really want a list? Multiple busted helmets, multiple concussions, some suspected broken bones, plenty of blood, road-rash and almost no knees left. Comes from all sort of things: Racing, big jumps, motorcycle wrecks, kayaking, soccer, football, wrestling, work, car wrecks, drunken stupidity, getting old, power tools, etc.

    I’ve been swerved at, cut-off threatened, spit at, punched, kicked, choked, etc.

    I have been under a car once and thrown in to traffic in a bike crash (a car stopped about 5 feet from hitting me) and plenty of other stuff.

    I could go on and on and give detail but I’ll spare everyone.

    I’d say close to 100% of the time I was with friends, someone laughed at me.

    I don’t think injuries are funny but I do like watching crashes. The crashes often make people heroes and demonstrate human strength in a way that might never otherwise be seen.

    I think the energy spent on the espn douches is wasted…spend it on stuff like the accident in Boulder a couple of weeks ago that did kill a cyclist.

    Me vs Car? I try to not ride on roads at all anymore…when I do, I keep it to roads with wide shoulders and low speeds and I still don’t feel safe.

  46. I’ll admit I laughed at people getting hurt when I was younger. That whole “It’s only funny till someone gets hurts, then it hilarious” kind of thing.

    But I’ve been hurt enough times to realize it ain’t hilarious. Not with me or anyone else.

    It’s called growing up.

    How old is this TV guy ?

  47. YoRo: my point exactly. How many times could you have been killed? Would you want someone standing by encouraging a guy in a car to hit you again?

  48. <>
    I don’t live my life thinking about that, so my answer is no idea.


    Again, radio banter is a waste of energy.

  49. Right on, YoRo.

    But I do think about that stuff. So I’ll make a big deal about it. You can go do whatever you think is worthy of your energy.

  50. Dirty Biker says: “Would you laugh at an NFL player breaking his neck in a tackle? An MLB player getting hit in the face with a fastball? What about an NBA player breaking his ankle coming down from a dunk? ”

    But let’s just go ahead and be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we do laugh at such situations, even when they are cyclists, so long as they aren’t “our” kind of cyclists.


    FWIW I’m with TripleF above. I’ve outgrown laughing at people who break their bones in our sport or any other. But given our track record I see Nick’s point, and am a bit surprised more of the DC readers don’t as well.

  51. The original question was posed to the man on the television whose job it is to provide editorial on sports. The “would you laugh…” statement is to show the hypocritical nature of his actions, while he was working, just because cycling is not a mainstream sport.

    I’m still not laughing.

  52. I sent ESPN an email yesterday but I also sent one to Nestle. They advertise on ESPN and also market products to cyclists.

  53. Ok crybabies…get your pens (err email) ready…

    Versus is using the video of the crash for advertising…that’s right, they are trying to pump up the ratings and profit from this horrible act.

    Certainly you pompous pontificators will want to write to versus and tell them how immoral and wrong they are. Good Luck.