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26-01-2023 22:46
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Should UCI punish Patrick Lefevere over remarks regarding Sam Bennett?
ivaneurope
2 days ago, Patrick Lefevere, the DS of Deceunick-Quick Step made some claims regarding Sam Bennett (both are still at 'war' ) on his weekly column in Het Nieuwsblad. The remarks about Bennett were regarding Sam's potential return to Ralph Denk's Bora-Hansgrohe. Here's what he's got to say about it:

And last but not least there is Sam Bennett. For me he’s the pinnacle of mental weakness,. Leaving Bora and moaning to everybody about how he was ‘bullied’ and almost broke and depressed. Only to return fourteen months later. It’s the same as women who still return home after domestic abuse.


Lefevere has the audacity to compare Bennett to an 'abused person' and Ralph Denk and, DS of a rival pro-cycling team, the 'abuser'. Not only this is disrespectful to Bennett and Denk (and by extension the whole Bora team), but to everyone (man, woman or a child) who has experienced domestic abuse. This is also disrespecting towards people (including athletes like the US gymnast Simone Biles) who are experiencing mental issues. Not only that, but IMO his remarks are bringing the sport into disrepute. I think David Lappartient as president of the UCI should take disciplinary actions against Lefevere over his compairsions. IMO both Bennett and Denk should sue Lefevere for libel and sponsors should reconsider their association with him (like either he steps down or cut support for the team), because his remarks towards a riders (who is still contracted by the team) are bad PR for companies like Quick Step Floors, Deceunick, Lidl etc.

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quadsas
Talk about a complete overreaction
deez
 
Ho0liGaN
I think everyone is allowed his or her opinion. Even if they can be perceived as hurtful or you simply disagree with them. Nowhere does Lefevere directly accuse Bora (Ralph Denk) of being violent/abusive. And despite it being a touchy subject, I find the comparison quite striking, although I wouldn't have used the same example, but instead would've compared it to someone going back to their ex despite leaving them earlier for being a bad partner.

The world these days is going the wrong way. Even the slightest controversial thing you say will be an opportunity for some to start calling to cancel said person. I despise cancel culture, as it in my opinion does not comply with what I believe a free and open society should be. We have the right to express ourselves, someone being offended should not dictate to what I can and cannot say, or can and cannot do (all within reason). We have a fundamental right to free speech, and therefore shouldn't be afraid of persecution by a virtue-signalling witch hunt mob who try to obstruct us from sharing that opinion.

You can disagree with the man, and find his example to be poor in taste, but it's no reason to start disciplinary actions or for sponsors to be called to cancel their support.
Edited by Ho0liGaN on 02-08-2021 16:48
 
Ollfardh
There's a few things to discuss here.

1) Is Lefevre wrong?
No! Sam Bennett wanted to leave Bora because they left him out of the GT squads. Bennett said what he said, terminated his contract and had Lefevre pay the fines up front. Lefevre gave Bennett every change to become the best sprinter in the world (and we could argue he was last year) and yet he did some weird stuff before le Tour and now wants to go back to the team he was so desperate to leave because they treated him like shit. For me, the analogy is correct.

2) Is Lefevre wrong to say it?
It's debatable at best. He's not the guy to go to for political correctness. But he didn't become one of the best managers of all time by being a nice guy. He's ruthless when he needs to be and even when he doesn't need to be. But making an analogy isn't the same as saying Bora are a bunch of wifebeaters.

3) Is Lefevre wrong to downplay mental illness?
Yup. Nothing good can be said there.

4) Should he be punished?
I don't think attacking free speech is the way to go here. UCI should probably distance themselves from the remarks and make sure mental problems are not to be marginalized. But that's it.
Changed my sig, this was getting absurd.
 
Ulrich Ulriksen
I am not sure about sanction from the sport, as has been noted he has the right to say obnoxious things (and has made a habit of it) and not sure it is a sporting issue. But I believe it would be very appropriate for Het Nieuwsblad to can him (not sure if that is on the cards). They have the right to use their platform to broadcast views consistent with their values and I would hope trivializing domestic abuse or mental health aren't among them. And it is not like it is a first offense.
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baseballlover312
I think what Lefevre said was out of line (wouldn't be the first time), but I don't see any legitimate way he can be sanctioned for it. He didn't break any rules, he just spoke what was on his mind to the press. That's everyone's right. He didn't threaten anyone or make up lies about them (just strong, slanted opinions). That he trivializes domestic abuse and mental illness says something negative about him obviously, but it's not something that can or should be punished imo. There's really nothing the UCI could enforce here - he didn't break any rules.
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tomcat9
I can't find any crime in Lefevre words. He didn't mean to offend abused people with it. But I'm tired of sissified athletes. They chose sports themselves, they knew that's not simple profession and they make good money with it. Why can't I hear firefighters, policemen, miners, builders, physicians, teachers complaining about their life? No, they're simply working!
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PinkFlum
The world these days is going the wrong way. Even the slightest controversial thing you say will be an opportunity for some to start calling to cancel said person. I despise cancel culture, as it in my opinion does not comply with what I believe a free and open society should be. We have the right to express ourselves, someone being offended should not dictate to what I can and cannot say, or can and cannot do (all within reason). mcdvoice
 
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