The games formerly known as…

So a little follow up to my previous ranting post.

Lest you think knitters are a shy retiring group, I point you to this article on Gawker which was the first of many to appear after the USOC decided to let the knitters know we were denigrating their athletes.

That paved the way for this article at the Oregonian where author Mary Mooney quipped

My favorite part is this quote from the cease-and-desist letter: “We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.” Now there’s a passage that screams, “I’ve never done intarsia.”

Just as the coverage was getting rolling, the knitters were shocked to see that the (coincidentally most unfortunately named) USOC Communications Director Patrick Sandusky issued an apology.  Except it wasn’t so much of an apology as an “I’m sorry your feelings got hurt, but feel free to send us free knitted stuff anytime!”  As you might expect that went over like a load of dropped stitches.

Then NPR picked up the story.

Which, color me gobsmacked, earned a SECOND apology from the USOC and Mr. Sandusky:

As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games.

Well alrighty then. Except once that train has left the station it’s a little hard to recall it.

Especially when the New York Times picks it up. And Business Week.

And less well known, but still a gem, Popehat. (who might have made me laugh the harder than any other article when he referenced the denigration language and posited “Now, I don’t know whether the USOC’s law clerk came up with that language himself, or whether the USOC’s word processor has a macro entitled DOUCHIFY.”)

Now the actual followup.  The USOC does indeed have the legal right of the matter.  Ravelry will cease and desist using “Ravelympics” and will rename its event – it is currently a tossup between Ravathon and Ravelrumpus (I strongly prefer the latter).

And all the knitters will still be supporting the athletes who work so incredibly hard to get where they are, even if we’re not as enamored of the USOC. The moral of the story? Don’t mess with the chicks with the pointy sticks.

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kate
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 03:38:21

    I found out late last week that the language in the letter that had everyone so upset – denigrate, disrespectful – is actually standard for them. They put it in every cease and desist letter, adding in the names of whatever events the “fake” olympics have. Without commenting on the appropriateness of said language, knowing that did put some of the situation – and the apology – into perspective.

    Reply

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