Friday, February 12, 2016

V 6 N. 10 Sport Dispute Resolution-Run Gum at the Olympic Trials?

I spent a long day yesterday travelling to Vancouver to attend a conference of sports mediators and arbitrators hoping to learn how the process works at high levels.  The conference covered a wide range of sports from snowboarding, soccer, basketball, equestrianism, to our own first love Track and Field.  There was  a lot of information on dealing with the doping problems we've been writing and reading about lately.  I'll talk more about the doping situation as represented at the conference in subsequent postings.  However I wanted to share one little tidbit in case it makes more news at this weekend's US  Olympic Trials Marathon race in Los Angeles.  This concerns Nick Symmonds' anti trust law suit against USATF and the USOC concerning the right to wear logos of companies not on the  list of  'sponsors'  those two organizations have approved.  Symmonds co-owns a company that markets a product called  Run Gum which apparently delivers caffeine to athletes during their competitions.  According to the rules of USATF and the USOC who are sanctioning the OTs,  Run Gum logos cannot be displayed on the uniform or the body of an athlete running in the marathon trials tomorrow (Saturday February 13).   What the penalty would be is not mentioned, whether it be a fine or a disqualification.   Apparently Symmonds has several runners in contractual arrangements  to receive financial support for touting Run Gum, and he would like them to be able to wear the Run Gum logo in the trials.   It would be Run Gum's hope that a court decision would allow that to happen.  However, we all know that it can take more than a day to get a decision out of a court short of some kind of injunction or restraining order which is only a temporary solution.

Last year before the World Championships,  Symmonds' dispute with USATF over his refusal to sign an agreement to wear Nike logo clothing at the world championships in non competition venues was the biggest story going into the championships.  He was eventually denied participation in those championships by USATF for refusing to sign the agreement, as he was sponsored by Brooks and would have preferred to wear Brooks clothing when not in competition.

Wearing logos has moved a long way in many sports.  Racing drivers used to be logo free fifty years ago.  Now they are walking billboards.  Even the NFL whose uniforms from a distance appear logo free in close have a lot of logos on them.  And it brings a lot of money to the athletes for allowing this.

So it remains to be seen if there will be any mention of the Run Gum story tomorrow as we watch the marathon trials.  

The purpose of the conference I attended yesterday was to discuss how these problems can and have been dealt with outside the courts  in the mediation and arbitration venues.  It can be faster, cheaper and preserve relationships which often is just the opposite in the court system.  I'll talk more about this in the future.

In another story in the news today, I noticed that the Nestle company is in the process of withdrawing from it's agreement to support  Kids' Track and Field with the IAAF.  That's a million dollars a year out the door of the IAAF coffers.  Ironically it seems somewhat hypocritical that Nestle would be putting money into childrens' sport as for years they were criticized for promoting their products of milk formula to Third World children which forced mothers to use contaminated water to add to the Nestle powdered formula resulting  in a lot of health problems in those  children.   Also looks like Adidas is threatening to pull out  of its contract with the IAAF, another 4 million dollars a year in sponsorship.    The IAAF has plenty of chances to find other corporations that exploit child labor somewhere in the world to fill that void.  No apologies for my cynicism.



George, nicely written.  I went straight to the getrungum.comwebsite, to learn more of the secret of Nick Symmonds' speed.  Such genius: caffein in gum -- in delicious flavors.  Next, they'll be putting nicotine into gum.  Then, who knows: that instant energy source, sugar.  Isn't modern science wonderful!
Bill Blewett

   So it is not enough that we have to endure political debates, negative political ads, sensational crimes, Youtube videos about stupidity, but now have to endure infighting in the T&F community over stimulants and sponsorship?  I was listening today that the NFL will be discussing corporate logos for teams to replace names of cities and nicknames.  If they do this, much like European football, then all US sports will follow suit including colleges.  Even though the people of Cincinnati built two stadiums for a combined $550 million, the uniforms might soon say something other than Cincinnati, Reds or Bengals.  There Otta Be A Law !!!!!!!      Bill Schnier

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