Because John Watson Wants an Apology

Sep 11 2014

Update 16 Sept 2014 – Watson has written up his thoughts on Cross Vegas, in which he wishes he had “handled the situation a lot differently”.

We’ve all done dumb shit before, John—especially me. Especially on the Internet, and especially while having a good party going. It’s not a character flaw. It happens, and when it happens to me, I make amends. That’s why I’m writing this—because you seem to think I’ve done something wrong and I’m addressing that. I’m just…not sure what wrong I did.

First, let’s establish the backstory. I don’t believe any of these are in dispute.

  1. Fans at Cross-Vegas throw beer on Lars van der Haar and other pro riders.
  2. John Watson (that’s you), standing near said fans, takes a photo.
  3. Lars van der Haar comments on a “bunch of assholes” throwing beer on him after his race.
  4. Cosmo Catalano (that’s me!), as Cyclocosm, posts a tweet in support of VDH. He clarifies his intention shortly after.
  5. The next day, Adam Myerson comments that the beer-throwers should be outed.
  6. Myerson then retweets a screenshot from Ryan Knapp, showing the photo Watson took, with a caption enthusiastic about showering racers in beer and “hooker cards”, to Instagram at 12:31pm EDT

This is where our trouble begins. I quote-tweet the image:

John, you’ve seemed skeptical of my intentions here. I felt compelled to share it because, regardless of whether or not you actually participated, it showed you delighting in fan jackassery that made one of the best ‘cross racers in the world publicly question whether he’d ever return to the US.

I at-metioned both you and van der Haar because I wanted the discussion to be out there—so that you’d be forced to confront the reality of what you were celebrating (for the record, the stripper cards weren’t appreciated, either), and so that Lars could see that it’s something US ‘cross fans want to make it right.

If that’s the root of your beef, I’m afraid that’s not something I’m able to apologize for. If you see it differently, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that point.

Anyway, your response to my RT was to say you’d deleted that photo out of respect, and that I should, too:

You also, almost immediately afterward, accused me of being a mindless instigator, which, y’know, I’m OK with—other than the mindless part. I actually felt a little jilted when Peter Flax patted you on the back for instigation instead of me.

But anyway—I wanted more details on that “respect” part. It seemed (and still seems) to me that trying to hide the photo entirely was pretty disrespectful to the racers who got sprayed.

And apparently you had deleted the original image out of respect…for yourself?

Not really sure why, but after that, you started to say some not-so-nice things that I’m pretty sure were about me.

Crucificion. Witch hunt. Dick. Low intelligence—and frankly, I don’t care. It’s just like, your opinion, man. But I did find the quip about “growing [my] social media” pretty idiotic. I’ve been thoroughly unsuccessful with 8,000 followers. Another 80 ain’t gonna buy me a yacht.

That was sarcastic, by the way. “Internet dollars” especially in all-caps, is a long-standing joke between my friends and I about what a total waste of my time Cyclocosm is. But the tweet was also a misstep on my part. As we saw earlier with my support of VDH, I have a bad habit of leaving room for misinterpretation, and you seemed to think I was serious.

So in the interests of avoiding further miscommunication, I felt compelled to engage you directly. My next tweet still kinda sums up my feelings on the whole thing:

Now again, we disagree. As I spelled out above, I don’t think it was a dick move to hold you accountable for pushing out that photo with that caption.

But you’re also right that I am an adult. And so are you. That’s why I’m here writing a blog post, trying clearly and calmly find the wrongdoing I’m supposed to show accountability for. I haven’t deleted anything and acted like everyone should suddenly forget it ever existed.

By this point, it looked like you were over it.

Not the most graceful apology, but one I’d accept, had I felt especially slighted by the things you said. But then:

Awww man, John. That one hurt. It takes 90 people to produce NBC’s TdF coverage. There’s one of me doing HTRWW. Don’t tell me it’s easy to do all that nothing.

But keeping on topic—what shit, exactly, did I talk? Looking back through the tweets above, there are a few mean words, but they don’t seem to be coming from me.

In fact, you later posted another photo to Instagram, trying to focus on the positive things from Cross-Vegas before ending the caption with “Death to the Trolls”.

stoked

I’m willing to pretend that’s not directed at me, but I can’t say it sounds particularly positive.

And here we are, John—back where I started this post.

You want me to apologize for wrongdoing, and I’m willing, provided you can spell out exactly what wrong I did.

Please keep in mind, though, that I never called you names, or said you were stupid, or leveled any accusations against you—so before you talk about positivity, ask yourself if your behavior toward me could pass any of those same tests.

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