Mar 22, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT
While sweeping up the debris from last week’s brawl between Lance Armstrong and Tony Kornheiser, I found a few quotes that may be of interest to those who only read the Cliff’s Notes version of their radio meet-up. Here’s the backstory on what led to the trouble, and here’s our original post on Armstrong’s visit to Kornheiser’s radio show on Friday. The phone interview was cordial and Kornheiser apologized for — jokingly, he said — advocating that drivers run cyclists off the road.
As Armstrong explained why a comment like that might be offensive even in jest, he came up with this, which I thought particularly interesting:
“Forty years ago, 40 percent of our kids rode their bikes to school and the obesity rate was 14 percent. Today, do you know how many kids ride their bikes to school? Three percent of kids ride their bikes to school. Do you know why? Because parents are afraid to put their kids on a bike. They are afraid that their kids are going to ride a mile and get run over.”
Armstrong is asking us to forget for a moment the adults in skin-tight shorts who sometimes ride five abreast so that cars are backed up for miles. Kids ride bikes as well. Or, they used to. When I was a kid we rode our bikes everywhere; to school, to church, to baseball practice. You had to get across town, you allowed yourself enough time to bike there. Today, a designated parent takes you in the mini van — there’s a reason the call them soccer moms — and bikes are reserved for … actually, do kids even ride bikes at all? Even the paper route is dead; my paper is delivered by a guy in a panel truck at 4 in he morning. I miss having to retrieve it from the roof.
And please parents, I implore you: The TV bike is not the answer!
We always knew that machines would one day rise up and take over, we just didn’t know that it would be like this.
More Armstrong on Kornheiser’s show:
“I have seen cars do all kinds of crazy things to avoid squirrels and cats and dogs and tractors and horses and sheep and runners and everything else. I am not nearly smart enough to figure out why it is that a single cyclist or two cyclists or a group of cyclists even gets people so angry sometimes. But it is what it is.”
And please, enough of the “You just don’t understand Tony,” argument. His “provocative grandpa” role goes over well in D.C.-area radio, but since he took the ESPN PTI TV gig and became a national name, he has to realize that he’s now playing to a much larger audience. Stuff he says is going to get out (just ask George Allen). You want that bigger ESPN paycheck, then you take the consequences of the wide-ranging scrutiny that comes with it.
It’s like when Homer Simpson became a baseball mascot, Dancing Homer, and tried to take his act from Springfield to the big leagues. Fan: “Boo! Those cornball antics might play in the sticks, but this is Capital City!”
Lance Armstrong Responds to Tony Kornheiser’s Comments on Cyclists that Motorists Should “Run Them Down” [Sports Radio Interviews]
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