Sellout statement or savvy move: MORE Readers react to Miller's apology


Sellout statement or savvy move: MORE Readers react to Miller’s apology{mosimage}Responses poured in to Skiracing.com as soon as we asked for readers to give their opinion of Bode Miller’s public apology on Thursday. Here is the second round of replies ( we posted the first round earlier):

Maybe it was the smile and Italian charm that made Alberto Tomba’s hard, late night partying an endearing and highly publicized part of his well received persona. Bode is living the same ski racer’s lifestyle but obviously not marketing it well to a far more conservative public and group of sponsors. If it isn’t anything more than bad marketing, I don’t care. His race results speak volumes. If he is actually racing drunk or stoned or on ‘roids, there is no excuse or apology that matters and he should be off the team.

Steve Goldstein
Wayland MA

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Here’s my take on the apology.

Rather than an apology from Bode, I would rather see an second installment of the Bode interview. In this interview, Bode will reverse roles and he will be interviewing 60 minutes newsman Bob Simon. Let’s jump ahead to next weekend, where the interview will take place in the alpine setting of Kitzbuehl Austria.

Bode: Bob, here pop these boots on and jump onto these skis. I’m going to give you a little ski lesson.

Bob: Ok, Bode. Wow, these skis are kind of long. Never been on a pair of 223s before.

Bode: Yeah, you’ll be better of on them.

Bob: Aren’t these bindings set kinda high. Never seen ones at DIN 23.

Bode: Don’t worry Bob, they work better on this hill at that setting.

Bode: Bob, let’s go over here and hop on this lift.
Hey, our gondola has Daron Rahlves name on right on the side of it for the incredible accomplishment of winning the Hahnenkamm a few years back. Bet he had one heck of a party with the world cup downhill boys that night after the victory.

Bob: Wow, thanks for the tip. I should contact my 60 minute people about running a piece on that. We are always looking for some hard hitting news stories.

Bode: Ok Bob, let’s head down over here to the infamous Hahnenkamm start house.

Bode: Bob, now stand over here in the start position to get a feel for what we experience. Take a look over there to the left. That’s called the Mausefalle.

Bob: Whoah, that looks kinda steep. Is that a frozen waterfall?

Bode: Yep, sure is. We ski right down that in the tuck position. Whaddaya think of that Bob?

Bob: Ok, now I undersand… You guys are nuts!

Bode: Here you go…

(a little shove out the start from Bode)

Jim Coate
Boulder, Colorado

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He sounds a lot like a teenager, mixed messages and all, except he’s 28 and that’s usually considered a grown man. The apology was the bare minimum to keep his butt from having to do for himself. Keep his ties with the USSA and not have to foot the bill to go to those darn races that he thinks put too much emphasis on winning. Why does he go? Nike found their spokesperson for the confused teenagers and he’s 28, confused and ski’s. But wait he doesn’t like sponsors. Why have them? I skied plenty just by working a couple of jobs and those weren’t even at the ski area. He’s got a bright future in politics. He already knows how to spin a message that is so confusing no one is sure he is doing something wrong. But he is and the price will be the first teen that copies his challenge and fails. Anyone that ski’s, climbs or enjoys the outdoors knows that death (or worse) is only a small slip away and only experience can temper those risks. Drinking and risking your life is not a challenge. It’s just plain dumb.

Larry Stelmat
Gazelle

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I have to laugh reading some of the responses to this story. All this, ‘Bode hates hypocrisy’ nonsense. Bode is the King of Hypocrisy. He’s the poster boy of Hypocrisy! He hates fame but goes on the Today Show and Leno. He hates money but gobbles up corportate sponsorships by the handful. Bode is a jerk. A talented, whiney, spoiled, hypocritical jerk. And, now, he’s backing up faster than a politician. So much for all the predictions Bode would rather die than apologize. To sum up: Bode is a talented, whiney, spoiled, hypocritical, gutless jerk.

As for the non-controversy-I don’t care if he races hungover but I can see how donors would be angry. The US Ski Team survives entirely on private donations and they had to be annoyed to learn that the most visible member was openly admitting that drinking had negatively affected his performances and that he’d do it again.

James Lopez
Phoenix, Arizona

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First of all, Bode’s the best thing to happen to skiing in a long time and transcends the sport with his intellect, ability and honesty. I think Miller’s apology was a great piece of PR. He didn’t apologize for the content of his original responses, which I found refreshingly honest, as much as for causing ‘pain and confusion’ to those who took it to seriously and to those parents who put athletes on a pedestal, in other words, the clueless among us. So he makes the money side happy and TV can build him up again. I hope he’s like MacEnroe in that controversy inspires his skiing.

Sincerely,
Gerry Mullaney

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Dear Skiracing,
I think that Bode Miller isn’t a man of his convictions like he acts
like he is. When he comes to the loss of his sponsorship money, he backs
down. I think that Bode just wants people to feel sorry for him.
I think that when Bode was wondering if he wanted to go to the Olympics,
he was just doing it so that he would have people think that he was
actually a gracious man. I think that if Bode Miller whines so much
about his job, then he should just quit.
Sincerely,
Liz Strong
Frisco, CO

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The whole situation is dumb and blown way out of proportion. Drinking and skiing? Big deal, there’s a bar and restaurant on practically every run in Europe. Is that how lame athletes are these days that a little drinky-poo is as wild as scandals get? Boring! If Bode was a genuine rebel, he would never have made it as far he has without getting kicked out of racing long before he became a star. So I’m not surprised at all by the lame apology. Despite what he says, Bode needs ski racing.
Mark Rimstad
Edmonton Alberta

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Having followed Bode for almost 5 years, I was sure he would tell Bill Marolt, the USSA, the FIS and the media to shove it. And he would have had every right to. Instead, Miller proved to be something that most people would never take him for – extremly mature in his apology.
Although I believe if someone should apologise here, it’s the USSA and CBS.

As a Bode fan I’m appaled at the (non) support the USSA has given him. Living in Europe, I witness the anti-americanism on a daily basis. Let’s just say you guys aren’t exactly our fav nation. So for an American to be as popular here as Bode is it’s pretty much a miracle. Bode has single-handedly improved the image of the USA – at least among European World-Cup-following-individuals. Not to mention his ski success. He isn’t just adequately represnting the USST, he IS the USST. And then his own team almost disowns him?! For what? Being hung-over the day after becoming the first American after 20 years to snatch the Overall? Or for saying that on CBS? Cause, if it’s the former, let me say that I’ve been around the USST guys – and they drink. The emphasis here being ”they” – that includes the servicemen and the coaches, the very same coaches who then say they are appaled and that Bode should perhaps leave the team. Not to mention that Americans clearly don’t see a problem in having a guy with a DUI for their commander in chief. Now that’s worse than a skier with a hang-over, at least in my books. And if it’s the la
tter – well, I don’t have much to say, except that they should know by now Bode is (sometimes naively) outspoken and they should watch the 60 minutes piece to hear what he really said.

And as a journalist, I’m ashamed. Ashamed that a prestigious, serious network that CBS claimes to be, would set out to ruin an athlete’s credibility and perhaps even his career (if Bode wasn’t such a strong character) on account of what can not be described otherwise than pure sensationalism. This was a 60 Minutes feature, for god’s sake, not eonline’s The Awful Truth! And for other media then to reprint that and to undergo further shameless accusations, without printing the other side of the story or at least watching the interview?! Hearing European media talk about it makes me thing they just couldn’t pass an oportunity to tear down a hero. Bode’s right. Media loves to build heroes. But they looooooove tearing down heroes.
Well, it’s only natural Bode wants to quit the circus.

Kaja Sajovic, Slovenia.

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The arrogant Bode Miller’s apology fell far short to satisfy me!
He is a lousy role model for American youth and should be kicked off the team no more chances.
Winning isn’t everything.
Buffalo Bob
Steamboat Springs CO
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It’s a sad commentary on our society that the media is able to spin stories such that
a quality individual (and I stress the positive attributes of “individual”) is pressured into
having to defend an honest dialogue about his sport and lifestyle. Maybe Charles
Barkley was right in refusing to be an involuntary role model; he continued to play NBA
basketball without being forced to retract his comments. We ought to realize that
professionals at the top of their chosen expertise are not always going to be the fresh-
faced little heroes we want to turn them into. Bode has a right to say what he wants
as long as anyone cares to listen; if you don’t like what he says, don’t listen.
That’s America,
Curt “Custis” Hughes
Centennial, Colorado

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I think Bode’s apology was smart. At two and a half minutes with no questions at the end it was clearly the quickest and easiest way for Miller, the US Ski team and sponsers to put the whole issue behind them. It would be hard to find another sporting controversy of this scale that was addressed that quick and easy.
I don’t think Bode really owed and apology. If you watched the 60 Minutes interview and read his letter in the Denver Post it was clear that 60 Minutes and the headlines of the mainstream media took the whole drinking and skiing portion of the interview out of context. In a perfect world you could argue that the media owed an apology to Bode, for making his comments such an international sporting circus. Having read the letter in the Post and watched the interview, I got the impression that he has showed up at the start gate at technical events, NOT speed events, extremely hungover. Last time I checked there was a difference between being hungover and being drunk. Wouldn’t you be a little hungover if you just clinched the Overall World Cup Title?
Bode loves to ski. He races to win races, not fame or fortune. His short and sweet apology was a way for him to return focus to the historical and challenging races in Wengen this weekend, and a way for the US Ski team to get back to business in this Olympic year.

Warren Gerow IV
Old Town, Maine

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I believe the media took the comment out of context and I do believe he had to apologize. The media took it way too far. And ’60 Minutes’ should not have “sold” the program with these comments.

He had already one the world cup, the 1st American in 22 years, and wanted to celebrate – as he should have. Maybe he should not have been out all night or maybe should not have raced in the slalom the next day.

However, that being said, I am glad he did apologize for his family, friends, and fans.

Jim Smith
Mammoth Lakes, CA

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First and foremost, Bode owed nobody an apology. All he did was say he raced hungover. That’s is all I could get out of the 60 minutes thing. I taped it and watched it three times now.
’60 minutes’, went way overboard in their promo of the interview and the rest of the media just jumped in and did the man and the sport a big disservice.
I have a great amount of respect for Bill Marolt and think the USSA has done well under his leadership, however, if he really did get on a plane to go talk to Bode in person, he is wasting my money. It was uncalled for and again, Bode owed no one an apology.
Troy Watts wrote a great letter that Ski Racing published very early in this controversy. I believe that he (Troy) covered all aspects of the issue and wrote very clearly about all the hyped up response from the media and the ski team.
How any body can think Bode was promoting skiing while drunk and that it was okay did not see the same interview I did.

Paul S. Lambres

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Let me see if I’ve got this all straight.

Bode gives an interview to mainstream American media and says he skied wasted,
which is naïve. No skier really cares and they defend him on the Ski Racing
web site. CBS unabashedly says they will use anything they’ve got to promote their program and by the way look at what our ski champion just said. Show ratings bump up. In the era of instant global communication Bill Marolt says he has to fly all the way to Europe just to talk to Bode. He’s obviously concerned about what USSA sponsors will think, especially right before the Olympics, and he’s right. Marolt has shown he’s an effective CEO who knows where to tap the money that translates to World Cup winners. Bode’s two big sponsors say they don’t really care because any publicity will sell even more of their products as long as Bode doesn’t go too far. Bode, with Bill’s encouragement, realizes an apology is smart politics at this point and could generate even more millions for both him and the team, especially if you throw in consistent podiums and some Olympic medals. The world doesn’t care about any of this because there are so many other truly important problems and also every one is really busy.

Yeah, I think I’ve got it.

Carl Thorgerson
Seattle

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I think this is ridiculous! Do you really think the super bowl champs don’t go out to celebrate? Or what about the US Women’s World Cup win? They didn’t go out and celebrate? Please! It’s the same thing. Bode won the World Cup. He deserves the right to go out and party. Life is about having fun. He tells it like it is and there should be nothing wrong with that.

If Bode said that he had done something illegal (like perhaps cocaine) before the race then that would cause an issue. But how is drinking the night before a bad thing?

Plus, Bode has made a public apology. It is unfortunate that he had to learn that the media shows what they want to.

I hope that Bode can keep his mind clear and ski the best that he possibly can next month! I wish him the best along with the rest of the US Ski Team!

Melissa Werblan
Akron, OH

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Dear Sir,

This is a strange world we live in. Why does Bode have to apologize ? CBS caused the confusion with their hyped-up, misleading advertizing for the 60 minutes interview. The interview itself was OK…. this is totally backwards.
Instead of going after CBS the USST must have really twisted Bode’s elbow to have him make this ridiculous apology.
It apppears that our society cannot accept a person’s opinion if it happens to disagree with the garbage that most media feed the masses.
I can only hope Bode Miller stays motivated despite this controversy and continues to win and for his own sake stops giving any interviews.

Best regards,

Manfred Schindler
Bellevue WA

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When was the last time we had an American as an Overall World Cup winner? Also, when was the last time an (American) Overall World Cup winner was featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes? Come to th
ink of it, when was the last time an American Overall World Cup winner was making news regarding topics, like equipment and drug testing protocol, that are applicable to every other professional sport? So in this aspect, Bode is very important to the sport of skiing and even more important to ski racing word in the US. Not only did he revolutionize the sport by adopting the parabolic ski concept, he is making the sport relevant to non skiers. And skiing needs to be relevant to the world at large, not just every 4 years when the Olympics come by.

Is he a role model? Yes. But that doesn’t mean everything he does or says is to be taken seriously or printed into a teaching manual for kids. The truth is Bode is a role model for the kids because he is an independent thinker and phenomenal athlete, not because he is a motivational speaker.

Finally, with regard to the skiing “wasted” fiasco, anyone who thinks they have or can ski better drunk simply hasn’t skied after a drink. Yes people do drink at the lodge and its ridiculous to think that they will get their money’s worth out of their parabolic skis, free flexing bindings, and custom fitted boots. Isn’t an $80 lift ticket enough to make us all want to ski more while on the hill? Bode didn’t take a shot Jaegermesiter between runs, he was just hung over and he wasn’t ashamed of it. If I was just crowned the Overall World Cup winner I would probably be hung over in the start gate ready to go, with a lampshade on my head from the night before.

Scott Weiss
Los Alamos, NM

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It’s hard not to imagine a champion in alpine skiing who is not affected by the press. Stein and Tomba played them well. Stenmark quietly tolerated the media, while Phil and Steve were all-american quote machines. Welcome to the new wave Worldcup. Bode Miller has progressed through the system on his own terms and had fabulous success. That a ratings-mad american television program would choose to exploit any verbal gaffe is no surprise. Seems we missed a lot of context on the 60minutes interview. Boys (and girls) drink during a celebration. Shocking. But wasn’t there more information surrounding the incident that could have shed a more complete light on the story. The program segment closed with the conclusion that Bode is usually too wasted to race effectively. Little to no evidence supported that conclusion, save Bode’s rationale that it was after clinching the overall Worldcup title. This information should not have been mentioned by Bode in the interview- even asides are deadly when the media hounds are nearby. Bode probably thought it would be funny to mention it, without sensing that the program would wring out whatever negative and exploit it for their own benefit. Bode seems well appraised of the “build ‘em up so you can cut ‘em down” mentality in our society. Too bad too many people seem to salivate for this kind of mud. Here’s hoping that Bode (like Alberto) gets to stay out with 3 women until 5am, and not try something crazy like partying with 5 women until only 3am. Thanx to skiracing staff for having a bit of distance in your reporting. go Bode. Have fun when you want, and win when you can. They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

best wishes
Mic Fairchild
Boulder, Colorado

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I am glad to see that Bode acknowledged that something needed to be said. My hope is that in making the statement he has affirmed that he wants to be a member of the US Team and all it represents.
There have been team members in the past that have, in interviews, said things that irritated me more.
Weezie
Burlington VT

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