Sunday, June 24, 2012

Knitting Disrespects the Olympic Athletes?

Did you know? Have you heard? Knitting denigrates and is disrespectful to the Olympic athletes.
The US Olympic Committee sent a cease and desist letter to asking that they change the name of Ravelympics. In 1978 the US Congress gave the USOC the right to trademark the word and images of the Olympics. Okay, they need to protect their trademarked word and symbols. I understand that. If they don't go after any infringements they loose the right to do so. So it is important for them to pursue that. The wording of the first part of their letter was pretty simple. It was disappointing, but I think most would have dealt with a name change.

Until the USOC's letter stated: "We believe using the name 'Ravelympics' for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."

 Wait a minute. You are telling me that by knitting and watching the games, encouraging others to do the same and suggest they try to finish a project is going to disrespect the athletes? Knitting is an activity that, when the Modern Olympic games were started, were actually part of the games! Now it is disrespectful?

 This is where the Ravelry community has a issue. The wording was just nasty. Many went to twitter, emailed, phoned, and went on Facebook to let the USOC know how upset this made us. They responded with an attempt at an apology which can be read here.
Sadly, asking people you just insulted to send you free things, when the executives of the Non-Profit USOC are making 300 Thousand dollars a year, and the CEO making 742 Thousand a year is even more of a slap in the face.
They did add a 2nd apology a few hours later. That too missed the mark in my book.

To think that the community on Ravelry will be happy to listen to the USOC put down the skill, effort, time and energy needed to make a knitted item was a mistake.  No it was a huge mistake. Do not mess with people who carry pointy sticks.

I do have a suggestion to the USOC if they want to be able to get out of this tangle. Why not, in a show of goodwill and a way to extend an olive branch, sanction the Ravelympics and use them as a way to  "represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony."which is what the games are to do.  But I suspect that they will not.

There are now calls to boycott the games and sponsors, which this blogger is going to support.
I urge all knitters to let the US Congress know that the USOC apparently needs some over site when it comes to the writing of cease and desist letters.  Apparently they need to have their hands held so they do not get into another huge controversy.

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