Morning all, as I posted yesterday, Spartan has announced their first rescheduled race and also introduced some new guidelines. What I didn't mention in yesterday's post were Joe De Sena's comments about why we need to go back to racing. Obstacle Racing Media interviewed Joe in a podcast discussing the race and the new regulations and below is a clip of a direct quote from the ORM website that summarized the interview:
Oy. I listened to the interview multiple times and I didn't actually hear him say this, so perhaps this part wasn't recorded. Regardless, Joe's not denying he said it (and believe it or not, the above quote wasn't the worst thing he said on the interview that I heard). Instead, he's now saying his comments were taken out of context and is backtracking(?) and essentially gaslighting ORM with this response:
I understand Joe's point on herd immunity, but the fact of the matter is there's still too much unknown to go back to business as usual and attempt herd immunity. As of the writing of this post, there are 86,000 documented deaths in the U.S. out of around 1.4 million documented cases since the first documented case on February 29.
We can argue all day long about the mortality rate and whether the mortality rate is incorrect because the number of actual cases is underreported. As scientists discover more, it's probably guaranteed that both the number of cases and the deaths are underreported. That is not the intent of this post.
I have no idea if Spartan has a PR person or agency, but if they do, I'm sure they are cringing right now. Joe's comments are tone deaf and insensitive. Joe has always marched to the beat of his own drum and I don't expect that he speaks for all of his employees. But the response on social media to his comments has not been positive and Joe's comments continue to degrade the Spartan brand.
As somebody whose goal is to bring newcomers to this sport, I am concerned and dismayed by his comments. To say, "oh that's Joe being Joe" doesn't excuse it. No one has said to become a prisoner in your own home. People should be going outside. But there's a huge difference between practicing responsible social distancing and hanging out with your family outside and doing an obstacle race right now.
I know there are people out there that agree with Joe and that's fine. But I guarantee that while Joe says he'd be at peace with dying from COVID-19, his family would probably have a different opinion on it.