March 16, 2017 by Irish Peloton
Froome backs Brailsford? No Sir!
Journalists don’t write the headlines. The articles are written, submitted and left in the hands of a sub-editor. Sometimes, a sub-editor can simply be clumsy and end up making the journalist seem a bit foolish. I recall an article I once wrote for the42.ie previewing an early-season race with a subheading of ‘Cillian Kelly pulls on the latex togs and freewheels through the week’s cycling action’. A slightly shinier look than I would have been hoping for but no reason to get my latex knickers in a twist.
Other times the sub-editor can get the wrong end of the stick completely and accidentally misrepresent what the entire article was about. In these cases, you would imagine that the journalist would quickly make contact to request that any misleading headline be changed. But evidently this doesn’t happen as much as it should.
A cursory glance at the headlines of various websites over the last couple of days and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Chris Froome had released a statement telling us that he was backing Dave Brailsford as the right man to continue to lead Team Sky. Froome did release a statement but it contained nothing to suggest that he backs Brailsford.
Here’s a sample of the articles covering the statement released by Froome on Monday 13th March.
These headlines are all misrepresentative. Froome was actually saying the complete opposite. He wasn’t backing Brailsford at all.
Here’s the Froome statement in full with my emphasis added:
It disappoints me hugely to see the way in which Team Sky has been portrayed by the media recently. It does not reflect the support crew and the riders that I see around me.
At the same time, I completely understand why people feel let down by the way in which the situation has been handled, and going forward we need to do better.
I would like to apologise for this on behalf of myself and the other riders of Team Sky who feel passionately about our sport and winning clean. I believe in the people around me, and what we are doing.
With respect to Dave Brailsford, he has created one of the best sports teams in the world. Without Dave B, there is no Team Sky.
He has supported me throughout the last seven years of my career and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities and the experiences I’ve had. By his own admission, mistakes have been made, but protocols have been put in place to ensure that those same mistakes will not be made again.
I know it will take time for faith to be restored, but I will do my utmost to ensure that happens, along with everyone else at Team Sky.
Froome feels ‘let down’ by the way Brailsford has handled this situation and he actually apologises on his behalf. He says he believes in the people around him. It would have been simple to write here ‘I believe in Dave Brailsford’, but that’s not what Froome chose to write. He was deliberately ambiguous which gives us an indication that he actually does not believe in Brailsford.
The line that many of those articles picked up on as evidence for Froome’s backing is ‘without Dave B, there is no Team Sky‘. This is more a statement of fact rather than any tacit indication of support. It has long been rumoured that if Brailsford were to resign that Sky would back out from sponsoring the team, which would likely lead to the team folding.
The only explicit mention in the statement of anybody backing or supporting anyone else is Froome telling us that Brailsford has supported him for the last seven years.
If Froome really did back Brailsford, a 140 character Tweet to that affect would have been more than sufficient to relay that message – just as 16 of his team-mates had done. Instead he has given us 208 carefully crafted words designed to take the heat off of himself so that when asked about this issue in person, he can point at this statement and tell us that he has responded to this matter already.
But it is obvious to me that Froome does not back, support or believe in Brailsford. Whatever relationship existed between the two men is now over.