WHY IS #BOYCOTTTREK TRENDING?
Quinn Simmons will not race until further notice
Recently Trek Bikes has found themselves in an unsavory position on social media for supplying bikes to many municipal police departments highlighted in media coverage during the ongoing protest and riots across the country. The backlash has intensified following recent tweets by 19-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider Quinn Simmons.
The #BoycottTrek hashtag may not hurt Trek's sales (there's a bike boom on, after all) but the optics of Trek-branded bikes being used to brutalise protestors needs to be addressed. A blog posting from CEO due soon I have been told. https://t.co/tWLJKVRvMX
— Carlton Reid (@carltonreid) June 8, 2020
On Wednesday, Simmons replied “Bye (with a waving brown hand emoji)” to a tweet by Cyclingtips.com contributor Jose Been who said, “My dear American friends, I hope this horrible presidency ends for you. And for us as (former?) allies too. If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is no excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man.”
— Quinn Simmons (@QuinnSimmons9) September 30, 2020
There was an immediate backlash on Twitter bringing attention to the the 2019 Junior World Champion’s response by many including @Pflax1 who notably took a screenshot of the original conversation.
I like talented young bike racers as much as anyone, but I refused to cheer for anyone who supports a racist, hateful fascist like @QuinnSimmons9 does. I am officially rooting for everyone else. pic.twitter.com/FvYavmNULl
— Peter Flax (@Pflax1) September 30, 2020
Following the response on social media Trek-Segafredo released a statement.
Trek-Segafredo response to public comments made by Quinn Simmons pic.twitter.com/ygqYjy8FWz
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) September 30, 2020
“Trek-Segafredo is an organization that values inclusivity and supports a more diverse and equitable sport for all athetes. While we support the right to free speech, we will hold peopl accountable for theri words and actions.
“Regrettably, team rider Quinn Simons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport.
“In response, he will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice.”
Seemingly the Trek Segafredo’s response only pushed Trek into further disdain of many.
The black hand emoji needs explaining (I don’t understand that) but to basically suspend someone for showing support for an incumbent president seems totally unjust.
— GrimDoppio (@GraemeLannigan) September 30, 2020
The use of the emoji has been equated to “Internet blackface” by Caley Fretz on Cyclingtips.com. The most popular result for internet blackface on Google refers to a Teenvogue.com article with, Dictionary.com describing “digital blackface” as “white people using GIFs, memes, emoji, and other images of black people to express various emotional reactions online.”
UPDATE: TREK-SEGAFREDO/ QUINN SIMMONS JOINT STATEMENT
Statement from Trek-Segafredo and Quinn Simmons. pic.twitter.com/WvtK9htYWN
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) October 1, 2020
Thursday morning, Simmons released this statement in regards to the controversy: “As an American rider, I have always, been proud to represent my country. Riding for an American team has been a lifelong dream. A big reason I chose this team was because of the American values behind it.
“To those who found the color of the emoji racist, I can promise that I did not mean for it to be interpreted that way. I would like to apologize to everyone who found this offensive as I strongly stand against racism in any form.
“To anyone who disagrees with me politically, that is fine. I won’t hate you for it. I only ask the same.”
Mixed responses continue to be made including those in support of the team’s decision as well as for Simmons.
Most rider contracts have clauses that prohibit actions that create disrepute or negative impression of the team and/or sponsors. That’s what this is about. It doesn’t matter that it involves Trump, it triggered this clause and the team, per the contract, is enforcing it.
— spencer lueders (@spencerlueders) October 1, 2020
So being a Trump supporter now gets you kicked off #Trek cycling team. Not allowed to support the candidate of your choice in an election?! Now that’s fascist. No more Trek products for me! #boycottTrek https://t.co/YurhBzMEFW
— Chip Cunningham (@DrChipC) October 1, 2020
Cool! So what's your stance on white supremacists and racism?
— TheYoungUpstart (@YoungUpstart72) September 30, 2020
You claim to value diversity yet suspended someone with a different view. You are hypocrites. I have been a life long fan of Trek teams going back to the Armstrong years. But it is clear it is time to change.#boycotttrek
— Kyle Hughes (@tri_kyle_hughes) October 1, 2020
So you’ll be terminating a contract with a rider who’s categorically against that correct?
Or do you just plan on doing some waffling a bit in hopes it’ll blow over?
— A Sentient Negligent Discharge 1312 (@ShredyBettyMTB) September 30, 2020
Hey @TrekSegafredo we don’t buy bikes very often, but I guarantee you, the next ones WON’T be Trek! Regardless of political affiliation, your blatant disregard for @Pflax1 ‘s freedom of speech is unfair and unjust #boycottTrek @GettySport
— Jana Ruggieri (@mtnhi93) October 1, 2020
@mtnhi93 seems a bit confused about the situation but makes it clear they won’t be purchasing a Trek anytime soon.
As a PR person myself, I have to imagine that @TrekBikes and @TrekSegafredo are looking at Quinn’s contract now, and trying to find an out clause, or at minimum a way to "fine" him. Given that Trek is in a losing battle over police using their bikes are weapons, they need to.
— TimJackson (@TimJackson) September 30, 2020
His tweet was not in any way divisive. You are the ones that are divisive. We will no longer buy Trek products. If you can’t allow opinions other than your own, we can’t support Trek. #boycottTrek
— valerie geib (@luv2sparklegrl) October 1, 2020
Follow Trek-Segafredo on Twitter at @treksegafredo