Thought for the Day

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Team Type 1 Has No Stout Members

It's true. James Stout, who was a member of the Team Type 1 Pro Cycling squad was terminated last November.
Team Type 1 says he was terminated for two infractions:

1) Wearing this shirt to a party at a friend's house:

2) Sending this tweet from his twitter account:

RT @AJELive: Afghan president Hamid Karzai says that the killed of Osama bin Laden is very important news. #AlJazeera #noshitsherlock

I don't have a big problem with Team Type 1 deciding when to terminate the contract of a professional rider. They have to be able to make those decisions, even if I feel they're being puritanical, prudish prigs about it, they have to draw the line somewhere, and it's a very subjective thing.
I don't hold it against them that they were never able to help James Stout with his visa, since I don't personally know how difficult it is to arrange a work visa for a professional cyclist. It may simply take a long time, or there may have been some bureaucratic snafu. It could be due to incompetence, whether at Team Type 1 or a government office.
I don't even hold it against Team Type 1 that they stopped providing insulin to James Stout as they had agreed. There may have been very good reasons why they couldn't afford to be responsible for riders' medications. It may even have been the Willem Van den Eynde case that made them make that decision.

Oh, maybe I should explain that Willem Van den Eynde is another of the type 1 diabetic bike racers who rode for Team Type 1 and felt abused. I only mention it here because Willem said that Team Type 1 failed to provide the health care he was promised. It's possible that his case caused enough problems that Team Type 1 decided not to be involved to the same extent in the medical requirements of riders.
In 2009, 18 year old Willem was never sure of medical supplies, mainly insulin and test strips, from the time Team Type 1 brought him over from Belgium until he got money from his parents to go back home. His A1c went from being consistently in the 7s to being 9.9 after several months with Team Type 1.

But I was about to say what really disturbs me about the actions of Team Type 1 in James Stout's case.
They did not communicate to him that they were about to terminate his employment, that they were in the process of terminating, or that he was terminated, until he left the USA. Then they told him his employment had been terminated months earlier.
They stopped paying him and helping him with diabetic supplies, stopped dealing with him at all. It's almost as if they were waiting for him to quit instead of telling him he was fired. Knowing that they've treated others similarly makes this seem like a plausible explanation.
They let him think he still worked for them. He continued to represent Team Type 1 at events. He continued to communicate with them about what he was doing. He would ask about his pay and his work visa, and there was always some delay.

You might wonder how he could go on that way, working at a job he wasn't getting paid for. I can't explain his actions. I can only guess. My guess is that like many of us he was inspired by what Team Type 1 has accomplished and what it represents. I guess he was glad that he was a part of it, and he didn't want to give it up.

Although I have many friends on Team Type 1 teams, cyclists, runners, triathletes... and I love to read about and hear about the inspiring things they're doing, I worry about what is happening to kids like James and Willem, and the others who are afraid to speak out.
I worry about the riders breaking their backs to support the team's mission.
I worry that the mission and the message will be corrupted if the organization doesn't wise up and treat these athletes fairly.

Meanwhile, I've come up with a couple of ideas for shirts:

Please enter any shirt ideas you have in the comments below.

Stout podcast about Team Type 1 on Crank Cycling, when Stout believed he worked for Team Type 1.

A two part Bikezilla interview with James Stout and the author's analysis:

A letter from a lawyer friend sent in a futile attempt at reasoning with Team Type 1 management for decent treatment:

A post by James Stout about his feelings toward Team Type 1, which are not all bad:

Willem Van den Eynde's Team Type 1 story, never disputed by the team.

Team Type 1 response, or lack thereof re: the treatment Willem Van den Eynde got from Team Type 1:



Lindsay said...

Wow, these stories both make me really sad. To think that you're going after your dreams only to end up in a nightmare....

I've met Phil Southerland several times and heard him speak, and I've never been very charmed by him, but that's a whole different story.

I hope the members of Team Type 1 who continue to work for them don't have these issues.

james stout said...

just saw this, i've actually been trying to print a t shirt to raise money for diabetics in Africa. (as opposed to raise money to get myself a free holiday....) if you have any links to manufacturers i'd love to do it.

and above all thnaks for your support, it hit me pretty hard mentally and i felt a bit rejected, this means a lot.

oh and i have many many t shirt ideas; im compensating for my tiny pancreas

its not a bail tag its an insulin pump

i used to work for a diabetic napolean

team type one; running across the us and out on contracts since 2011

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

here's an idea:

"I'm compensating for pricking my finger 12 times a day.

AND for being dyslexic."


Anonymous said...

Hey James don't sweat it. You're still one hell of an athlete.