You’re competing in the Tour de France. You’ve trained years and years to be able to ride this iconic route. You’ve dedicated your entire life to this opportunity. Then, all of a sudden, you’re hit in the face by a giant piece of f*****g cardboard. That’s what happened two days ago to German cyclist Tony Martin. Martin’s fall caused dozens of cyclist behind him to also subsequently crash. It was one giant bicycle pile up. Eight cyclists involved in the crash had to receive medical attention, and German rider Jasha Sutterlin had to immediately pull out of the race.
All this was caused by a woman who stepped on the course holding up a cardboard sign directly towards the camera. The sign read “Allez Opi-Omi” which translates to “Go Grandpa-Grandma.” I highly doubt that this woman’s grandfather and grandmother are competing in the 2021 Tour de France. So, I don’t quite understand why they would need a sign encouraging them to “Go.” Which left me with the question, where do they need to go? Bingo? The pharmacy? Whatever the French equivalent of Cracker Barrell is? Wherever it is her grandparents need to go, don’t ruin multiple cyclists’ chances in the name of reminding them to “go.”
Witnesses say that the woman immediately fled the scene when she realized the damage she caused. I mean, if you dent a car in the parking lot, the least you could do is leave a note with your number and insurance info. Or at least put a note on their windshield that says “Oopsies.” As far as oopsies go though, this was quite the oopsies. This is a lawsuit-level oopsies, which is one of the gravest forms of oopsies. Pierre-Yves Thouault, tour deputy director, stated that “We are suing the woman who behaved so badly.” Only problem is that they can’t find her. Police are trying to use camera footage and urging witnesses to come forward in order to identify the woman who caused the multiple-cyclist crash in the name of getting on TV.
Tony Martin, the cyclist who took the initial card-board sign to face, commented on the incident on Instagram in a post that read, “To all the people next to the road who think that the #tourdefrance is a circus, to people who risc everything for a selfie with a 50 km/h fast peloton, to people who think it’s nice to show their naked butt, to drunken people who push us sideways on the climbs, to people who think that it is a good idea to hold a sign into the road while the peloton is passing.”
This whole incident reflects a growing issue in sports: fans disrespecting players. Back in May, a Boston Celtics fan threw a water bottle at Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving while he was walking off the court. After the it happened, Irving commented on the incident saying, “It’s been that way in history in terms of entertainment, performers and sports for a long period of time, just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo — throwing stuff at people and saying things…We’re not at the theater. We’re not throwing tomatoes and other random stuff at the people performing.” The fan was later arrested and charged with assault. A similar event occurred during the Wizards vs. 76ers NBA playoff game when a 76ers fan ran onto the court and threw popcorn at Russell Westbrook. You know who comes to mind when I think of NBA players to not throw popcorn at? Russell Westbrook.
Yes, there are professional athletes who I can’t stand. I won’t name anyone specific, because that’s just petty (Baker Mayfield). I would never assault any of the un-named players (Baker Mayfield) who rub me the wrong way. Who am I to throw popcorn or yell at a professional athlete? While I’m sitting on the couch or in the stands dunk, these women and men are working their asses off doing what a tiny fraction of the population is capable of. So, even if I don’t like them, I respect them.
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