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


Sellout statement or savvy move: 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 first round of replies:

Bode Miller apologizing for his comments does not change anything in mainstream America as most people watching 60 Minutes probably never heard of Miller and will never know that he did apologize. The damage done, if there was any, is done. What the apology proves to the skiing community is that even Bode can be pressured into reigning in his mouth by the governing bodies that control his sport.

Face facts, Bode is a great but reclusive skier, not an MBA graduate. The media knows the more he is pushed the greater the chance that he will eventually say something he will regret. Controversy sells. Bode should keep his comments limited to post race reviews of his performance, and only to the skiing press, and leave the other interviews alone. I’m afraid that the headaches associated with winning the World Cup Overall Globe has already taken some wind from his sails and the USA could find themselves out of contention next year, especially if Daron retires.

Bob Nelson
Ballston Spa, NY

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Yes, I believe he had to apologize.

Marolt was my coach 35 years ago and I know his love for the purity of the sport. Marolt was probably going to rip him a new hole, if he didn’t.

I dig Bode alot. I love his free spirit. Maybe this experience will turn him more inward and find a new strength to light his fire for the rest of the season.

When you are one of the best of the best, it is best to be humble, rather than cavalier.

Hari Khalsa

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Bode sells out!

Paul Neilson

N. Andover, MA

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I was a bit surprised at Miller’s apology today. I would have expected more backlash from him at “the way he’s being treated by the media” as he likes to put it. But it was prudent and I think had the right amount of sincerity to smooth things over. Maybe he is coming to terms with the amount of influence and impact he can have with his voice alone, for good or for bad. The whole situation was blown way out of proportion anyway by the American moral-values toting media market that thinks the whole world needs to act in some type of perceived perfect manner. It seemed to me that this was a non-issue in European media until it became apparent how uppity some Americans were getting about it. I think (or hope!) that this issue is now dead. I have skied/snowboarded hung over in the past, and I can’t say that I won’t do it again in the future. Good luck to Bode, Daron, Ted, and the rest of the gang in Wengen this weekend, and to also Kildow and crew in Bad Kleinkirchheim.

Ed Warner
Helena, Montana, USA

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Bode Miller is a role model to so many skiers, young and old, do to his incredible physical ability but also for his spirit and candor. We love to watch him ski and enjoy his off snow comments because what you see is what you get…he is true to himself and to us, the public. Yes, the media blew this way out of proportion, however, I am glad and have gained more admiration for his apology. This issue can now be put to bed and Bode et al can put their focus on more important issues like preparations for the Olympics. Good luck in Torino!

Jerome Guerard
Sterling, MA

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In regards to my comments about Bode Millers 60 minute interview .
I think the press as usual is making a lot out of this interview. I say Bode is a fine young man who is doing what
he loves and he must remember that fire can come out of the mouth so be careful when you talk because it all
be looked at and added up and history is making itself. Just be careful and do the right thing he will be o.k.
win those medals and show them he is bigger than all that talk. It is too much & too late and it may change things
BP
sunvalley idaho usa

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Hello

I personally thought the apology was a little weak. Having coached young athlete’s in the sport of ski racing for over 20 plus years I know how valuable a role model can be to young athlete’s, including my daughter. Although we have never used Bode’s video as an example of how to ski we have used his drive and love for the sport. Now that is tarnished.

Over the past few years I have increasingly become a bigger and bigger Daron fan, because he much like the early years of Jerry Rice (SF 49er’s), he won his races or scored his touch downs and let his athletic prowess do the talking.

Thanks, Skip

Skip Fox
Dorset, VT

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I believe Bode Millers apology clearly communicated that he knows his comments, as delivered and interpreted by the media, were inappropriate, and sent an inappropriate message. At the same time, the question (what did he mean by wasted?) remains, and his mystique remains intact.

Clearly, Bode relishes, yet struggles with his position as a role model for many aspiring athletes. He wants to send the message that he lives on the edge just as he skis on the edge, but in reality, he’s only able to ski the way he does because he spends far more time training and conditioning than he does partying.

I didn’t see the interview, but as I understand it, whatever the media says, he never said he skied drunk. He did indicate that he arrived at the top of a course or two with pretty significant hangovers, and while that can impair one’s performance, I suspect the adrenaline released in the competition mitigates the effect.

Tom LaHaye
Warrenton, Virginia

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I was surprised but happy to see that Bode apologized. It was a class act although he didn’t really need to do it in my opinion. His supposed crime was that he skied a meaningless race pretty banged up from the previous night and then had the audacity to tell the truth about it. You can’t tell me that NFL guys don’t play the Pro Bowl with raging hangovers in Hawaii every year or that MLB players do the home run derby stone cold sober. I’d like to know whether the USST coaching staff was bringing its A Game to the hill the morning after Bode clinched last year.

Bode would have been justified to launch into this rant, but he showed great class and discretion. Good for him.

Now someone needs to organize an email campaign to NBC to encourage them not to sensationalize this non-story before every Bode run at the Olympics. Here’s the best email address I could find for that: nbcolympicsfeedback@nbcuni.com.

David Lavallee
Easton, NH

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Miller said:

“But also we have a lot of people who supported me along the way, through my team and even just family and friends who have supported me, who I think are subject to only what the media puts out in America.”

Here’s my take on all of this…

The media blew this way out of proportion. When do the media and Bode’s critics apologize to Him?

Anyone that follows ski racing even a little bit would know that being “wasted” in this case meant skiing with a hang over.

Plus, I think the real point was missed. This all has to do with what substances are banned and what’s okay in sport. It’s acceptable to drink the night before a race. In fact, win a WC and you’ll win your weight in fine wine. Drink up! You won’t get DQ’d for alcohol in your system. But please don’t talk about partying. We want to believe that you are perfect and don’t do that kind of stuff.

However, use an over-the-counter inhaler or consume an over-the-counter energy drink that is tainted with a minute amount of some banned substance and you’re banned for two years. Goodbye Olympics, goodbye ski racing career, goodbye bronze Olympic medal. They are trying to keep competition fair and to protect the athletes from hurting themselves. I res
pect that. But, the system seems flawed and somewhat
hypocritical:

- Do something bad by accident and the penalty is very harsh. You’re made an example for all to beat on.
- Do something bad but not banned and just don’t talk about it.
- Do something bad and if you’re really good at it, nobody will ever know.

The real cheats won’t get caught – they’re too good at cheating.

So, I think I understand the point(s) that Bode is trying to make with drinking and drug rules and I respect that and I’m interested in seeing things improve. I’d love to know how the other World Cup racers really feel about all this. But, why listen to him when you can jump to conclusions, put words in his mouth, tear him down, make him sit in a corner with a dunce hat on his head, and make him apologize for what we think he said. That’ll teach him! And now, don’t we all feel a better about ourselves?

I don’t.

Hey, next up on the banned substance list – beer.

Go Bode!

Marty
Longmont, CO

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It great to see that action was taken as swiftly as it was to correct/apologize for any misunderstanding that took place and that we’re able to move on from this issue. I think it was great and shows the kind of class that our Ski Team athletes exemplify. Bode has worked extremely hard to get where he is and no one should doubt/question the level of training and dedication he has put forth. I respect his approach to all action little words if that’s what it takes to succeed in his sport. We are quick to celebrate his accomplishments and be proud Americans when he wins but to jump quickly on such comments and judge is a display of our own ignorance of the athlete and what he is going though. We are far more eager to believe the media rather than understand what is really going on with these folks day in day out, the sacrifices they make and the focus they must maintain in order to perform at these levels. They are also human and will say and do things that may not please all the people all the time but let’s look to understand what they go through in a day before we cast shadows on their character. Yes, he is an athlete in the public eye and he must uphold a level of maturity and exemplary behavior as well as respect those that support him throughout a season but the ratio of bad example US Ski Team athletes to professional basketball, football or baseball players is ridiculously low. Granted we don’t put as much emphasis or support on skiing like they do in Europe, I think it’s high time America takes a good look at how well we are performing against these countries that have dominated the World Cup circuit for so many years and put forth a little effort to support the amazing job our athletes are doing. I’m glad that there was an interview on 60 minutes but there needs to be more positive support for our US Ski Team athletes for the hard work they’re putting forward and the incredible results they have achieved this season. Basically it is the die hard individual that follows these athletes progress throughout the World Cup season especially an Olympic season and it’s a shame that something like this could move to the forefront of our daily news rather than a shot of Rahlves, Ligety or Bode Miller on the podium.

Chris Carruthers
Sandy, Utah

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According to AP, “International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper said he was surprised by Miller’s apology. ‘But I’m happy,’ Kasper told The Associated Press. ‘It’s a good thing and a clever move.’”

So Kasper is saying that it’s a calculated move on Bode’s part to get back in the good graces of his fans and sponsors, stay on the U. S. team, and compete in the Olympics. I don’t think so. Remember that he does have the option to compete as an independent. I think it’s obvious that his sponsors and the majority of his fans are behind him more than ever.
So I’m going to take Bode’s words at face value. He’s not apologizing for what he said, but for the effect it had on family, friends, and the ski racing community. I think it’s pretty obvious that whether 60 Minutes was practicing a little bit of yellow journalism (I think they were…), Bode didn’t realize the affect it would have on the people he cares about, and for that, I believe, he genuinely is sorry.

As another write-in comment noted, if you don’t know Bode, go read his book. Everybody already knows about the “go fast, have fun” parts of his philosophy, I think what they’re missing is the “be good” emphasis. Bode really cares about the people close to him, and that includes the ski racing community at large…and he believes in giving back to that community. Read the book, and you’ll see the side of Bode that nobody pays attention to…

Richard Malmros
Berthoud, CO

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Dear Ski Racing,

It sounds to me like Bode celebrated some victories, and felt the lingering effects in some races the next day. 60 Minutes blew that “revelation” out of proportion to get viewers to watch the program. He didn’t do anything he needs to apologize for, except fail to realize how his words could be misinterpreted.

The worst thing I think one could say about Miller is that he’s honest to a fault, and guilty of naievete regarding the media. I hope he can get over the “shock” of all the attention he gets, and just focus on going fast.

I hope he finds satisfaction in what he does, and I hope he does well.
As a former ski racer, world cup fan, and as an American, I get a lot of pleasure out of following his success.

Sincerely,

Greg Simons

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It’s too bad that this tremendously gifted, honest, athlete is getting slammed again and again the way he is, for being honest with the media. Bode never said he was drinking before a race, or condoning the use of alcohol. He honestly stated that “I’ve been in really rough shape at the top of a course” was referring to his hangover from the late night before after the greatest accomplishment in the sport, winning the World Cup Overall title last March.

In comparison, consider that one very famous baseball pitcher has stated publicly that he was tripping on LSD when pitching a perfect game during his career in the 70′s. This fact was hushed at the time because the media didn’t want to expose his actions to youngsters playing the game of baseball because he was an excellent “role model” for to them look up to. It took a responsible decision NOT to include his confession that at that time. Bode’s comment could have been handled the same way and it wasn’t. That was then and this is now.

Should Bode apologize for being honest? An apology wouldn’t be necessary if CBS hadn’t been greedy with it’s “sensationalism” of the headlines. Obviously CBS needs help in the ratings. Maybe an apology for the whole mess would be more appropriate coming from CBS. Yes, the Bode’s coaches and the US Ski Team organization put Bode in the position to be the World Champion he is, and now he has had to apologize to the team and it’s sponsors to save face for them.
Bode may be more responsible for the success of the entire US Ski Team than even you report. If he wasn’t winning, it’s doubtful that others would be attaining those results as well. Champions inspire others to perform at their best and that’s what has happened within the team over the last couple years. They have all gotten better as a result of Bode winning, proving that Americans can win the biggest ski races. Ask Darren and Lindsay, and Ted and others about that.

CBS has been put Bode in a position where he has to defend his brutal honesty. Ultimately that could cause Bode to leave the sport he loves because of their poor decision to include his comments about his partying, after the biggest race of his life so far. In my opinion, CBS should have omitted comments about his partying and “being in rough shape at the top of the hill”, but they didn’t. Who’s really at fault here? Bode or CBS? I think it’s irresponsible journalism, because CBS didn’t consider the impact the pie
ce might have on some of it’s advertisers, ski team sponsors, Bode’s future with the US Ski Team as an athlete, or his life.

Bode will most likely retire after the Olympics and this season is over, maybe before that if this kind of personal attack on his character continues by the media. What a shame that we won’t get to see the best skier on the planet do his thing because of his honest words, which have not harmed anyone but him.

For Bode, the race has just begun. Now he will need to learn out to outrun the media who has forced him into this mess or face a life of increased scrutiny.

Who was more irresponsible? Bode for risking his health (it’s his life), or CBS for exposing millions of viewers to his frank comments and making it sound as if he condoned skiing under the influence and causing so much personal stress to a great athlete, his coaches, the US Ski Team and sponsors of the team and his family. CBS is the only one capitalizing on the statements Bode made, yet I don’t hear of anyone at CBS being chastised for including his comments which were exposed to millions of viewers. I feel they should be the ones apologizing to;

1.) Bode for creating this mess
2.) To the American public for creating this mess and contributing to the problem by exposing the public to their poorly disguised greed .
3.) To the sponsors of the US Ski Team, who pay to advertise with CBS and then have been stabbed in the back by their action.

For anyone who has ever had too much to drink and found themselves “in rough shape” the next day, you may be familiar with the meaning of rough shape. It’s too bad that this issue ever arose after the interview, but it did, and the only way for Bode to get this whole mess to back off temporarily, was to apologize. His apology, while well meaning, only appeases the US Ski Team officials, maybe FIS (not likely) and possibly some sponsors. It is only temporary.

The mess created by the CBS interview may make Bode even more misunderstood by the general public and puts more pressure on him to overcome any controversy that may arise as a result of some of his honest comments, that were never intended to hurt anyone.

K. Emrick
Colorado

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I feel that Bodie’s apology was typical for him; direct, to the point, and sincere. The media blew his comments out of proportion, but his apology acknowledges that his comments, while honest, may not send the correct message to impressionable kids who emulate his skiing success and lifestyle. I must confess a bias towards Bode; I truly believe he is one of the few athletes in the public eye who has maintained his integrity in the face of the unrelenting pressures of fame and fortune that follows success such as his. As such, I believe that the U.S. Ski Team, the USA, and the World Cup in general should be grateful that such a remarkable athlete and person exists.
Please note that this comes from a guy from Pittsburgh, PA, who is as crazed a race fan as anyone. Please let Bode and the world know that he has many fans in Steeler territory, and we will continue to support him in his quest to achieve those goals he has set for himself!
Sincerely yours,
Kevin Lee

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I am not making excuses for Bode but look at it this way. Bode, no matter how many races won, seems kind of naive in that he thinks people will not try to read anything into what he says. He did not say ‘I endorse skiing drunk’ or ‘I ski drunk’ he said ‘It’s like driving drunk only there’s no rules about it in ski racing.” And by that he meant exactly that, there are no rules about it, it is very risky, and risk is exciting. It was 60-minutes that implied and insinuated that Bode endorsed such behavior. You and I can very easily ‘read between the lines’ however I do not think Bode intended any insinuation from that statement.

In fact I think he is absolutely correct. FIS has their heads up a dark hole and this is just one more example.
He may have had a hangover at a race but he also is the only ski racer to have started every race for the past 4 years. You do not do that by being hung-over very much. I wonder how many times Tomba started with a hangover?

It boils down to Bode being an independent thinker who’s view of the world and how he expresses himself is very different than what we expect. If we misinterpret him it is our fault not his. And I do not think anyone will ever be able to make him conform to the nice Orwellian mold of a good little racer that FIS would like.

I believe his apology to be genuine all be it prompted by the US Ski Team & FIS. I coach ski racing and will have a discussion about this with my students but I will not dwell on it. Life is about passion and where your intent lies in your heart of hearts, and not always in how you say it or in how other people react to it although those things need to be taken into account better then Bode did. In Bode’s case actions speak louder than words and he has years of consecutive starts in all four disciplines, a bag full of medals and one large glass globe that speak volumes.

Eric Stearns
Cincinnati, OH

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I am not making excuses for Bode but look at it this way. Bode, no matter how many races won, seems kind of naive in that he thinks people will not try to read anything into what he says. He did not say ‘I endorse skiing drunk’ or ‘I ski drunk’ he said ‘It’s like driving drunk only there’s no rules about it in ski racing.” And by that he meant exactly that, there are no rules about it, it is very risky, and risk is exciting. It was 60-minutes that implied and insinuated that Bode endorsed such behavior. You and I can very easily ‘read between the lines’ however I do not think Bode intended any insinuation from that statement.

In fact I think he is absolutely correct. FIS has their heads up a dark hole and this is just one more example.
He may have had a hangover at a race but he also is the only ski racer to have started every race for the past 4 years. You do not do that by being hung-over very much. I wonder how many times Tomba started with a hangover?

It boils down to Bode being an independent thinker who’s view of the world and how he expresses himself is very different than what we expect. If we misinterpret him it is our fault not his. And I do not think anyone will ever be able to make him conform to the nice Orwellian mold of a good little racer that FIS would like.

I believe his apology to be genuine all be it prompted by the US Ski Team & FIS. I coach ski racing and will have a discussion about this with my students but I will not dwell on it. Life is about passion and where your intent lies in your heart of hearts, and not always in how you say it or in how other people react to it although those things need to be taken into account better then Bode did. In Bode’s case actions speak louder than words and he has years of consecutive starts in all four disciplines, a bag full of medals and one large glass globe that speak volumes.

Eric Stearns
Cincinnati, OH

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I wrote in an earlier letter that Bode will grow up soon enough. It’s just to bad he has to be interviewed in the process.

This rings true for his apology as well. It’s too bad that he even was put in a position to feel the need to apologize.

Did he have to apologize? NO

Was it a good idea? YES

With the fame of success, comes responsibility. The media and sponsors shove young athletes into superstar status maybe quicker than they should. Yes, by virtue of his age Bode is an adult but I’d be a hypocrite if I said that my comments as a young 20 something skier were “politically correct” and mature. In reality if you make a young adult athlete a world wide superstar the result is quotes and such that some may deem immature. But lets not forget that these young athletes also reap the financial benefits of the exposure the media and sponsors provide. So it is wise to step back and correct mistakes
and in the future be careful with what you say.

In a perfect world the sponsors and media would get only the interview “sound bites” that are approved for the main stream public and the publicity the sponsors desire.

Then again this isn’t a perfect world and neither is Bode.

Thanks for the public apology Bode, I know you didn’t “have” to.

All the best to the US Ski team in Torino Italy. GO GET THE GOLD!! Just be careful with your victory speech :)

Erik Boye
Boulder, CO

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We have already established that Bode was not out of line with his statements about drinking, yet his apology will cool things off for a while.

Now he can get back to doing his talking on the slopes. I predict some stunning skiing in his near future.

Go Bode!

Noah Goldblatt
Littleton, NH

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To the editor;
The saga continues,Bode the hero,Bode the zero,to hero again, never ceise to fascinate.A interview that lasted 5 to 6 hours, a short description of his celebration as a world cup champion,he is candid enough to share the fact that he was hungover before the last race.The media,like a bunch of snowflakes pushing and sliding into each other,creates a avalanche.The results, destroy the credibility of their own ski champion,strip him of his dignity,embaress him, and bring everyone down,federation, coaches,and love one.However Bode the mountain man survives another fall,and with dignity and kindness he display integrity above the call of duty,by sharing his feelings,and clearing the path, the true mark of a champion.I sincerly beleive that this experience will make him stronger.Hopefully, Bode saga will inspire all future mountain man and woman,as to stay clear from the path of the avalanche.Time to sign
off,and best of luck to Bode and the US ski team.
Make your own track
Tracker Dan

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It is astounding that this story has gotten anywhere close to as dramatic as it has. Does anyone actually believe that Bode Miller was in anyway boasting or promoting ski racing after drinking? Leaders of the free world to the guy sitting at the desk next to me make bonehead comments. I don’t doubt that Bode was feeling the results of the night before, and talking about it is just the way he is good, bad, or indiffrent. Was that actually a story for “60 minutes’ or just a shot at sensationalism for a slow news night.
Journalistic integrity seems to be a subject of the past. Bode’s apology was the right thing to do, and I believe he did it for the right reasons.. the kids who look up to him and for all of those who support him. As for the media..it is just another example of why we are all getting sick of the major news sources, and the spin they put on stories.

Greg Hagen
Spokane, Wa.

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To whom it may concern,
Major props go out to Bode, may we all raise our glasses for a toast!!! Very simply put, the guy is honest, talented and like it or not, the best ski racer most of us will see in our lifetimes!!! He is “East Coast” live free or die. Let’s all give him a break and let our American star kick butt in this years Olympics.
Steve Newton- Treeskier
Cortland, New York

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In the last two to three winters Bode Miller has been the most exiting male ski racer to watch especially in the speed events. With some luck we find in this country a diamond like Bode every 25 to 30 years. Phil Mahre was the last one but not as exiting to watch as Bode.
Unfortunately I have never met Bode in person but besides his potential as a ski racer which is second to none he seems to be a honest, outspoken, opinionated and very intelligent young man. A rare combination in today’s world of hypocritical political correctness and spinning of truth. He calls a spade a spade and stands by his opinion.
I applaud him for competing “somewhat hung over” in the 2005 slalom at Lenzerheide after he had already clinched the overall World Cup title. He could have called in sick and stayed in bed….as most of us would….he did not ….he raced ….finished sixth and now the hypocritical media and surprisingly the coaches are trying to make him look bad and force him out for having fun on and off the slopes. Media and coaches can be replaced in a short time but not Bode Miller maybe that’s where Mr. Marolt should spend his energy. I am convinced Bode can look out for himself.

“Bode keep on winning and keep up the excitement and best of luck at the Olympics”.

Manfred Schindler
Bellevue WA

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Bode Miller has single handily breathed new life into a stagnating sport choking with old school values and traditions. Don’t judge Bode by what he says, but by what he does on the hill! This guy is a legend in the making- someone with the courage to ski the way he does yet somehow continue to keep it all in perspective-to be himself!
Stewart MacLeod
Bali, Indonesia

Wengen: Michael Walchhofer wins DH portionJenny Lathrop takes final Mont-Sainte-Anne slalom before heading to Europe

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