The 2018 Jingle Cross Cyclocross Festival offered up three days of stellar racing, epic conditions and world-class talent. Unfortunately, it also left a bad taste in the mouths of many on-the-ground visitors and racers, and it wasn’t because of the Johnson County Fairgrounds mud.
Brad Sohner and Larry Longo were behind the microphone to announce the event. Longo made a number of offensive, misogynistic comments throughout the weekend.
Cyclocross racer Lindsay Knight gave her personal account of the remarks she heard, and may have been the target of at least one of the announcer’s remarks:
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Well, @jinglecross it’s been an interesting weekend. First, and most importantly, to the women of the CX scene: You are all incredible. You are fierce competition, and a phenomenal community to be apart of. Second, the atmosphere and tone set by the #jinglecx announcers did a HUGE disservice to that community. Over the past three days, I — and countless other women in the 1/2s race — have been told to smile, look “like we’re having fun”, been referred to as “the wives having a miserable time”, and (today) told that we can “limp through our last two laps.” During other parts of the day, we’ve heard inappropriate comments about how “the *fun* stuff at the bar happens in the dark with too much alcohol,” and how “the moms can just calm down ‘cause their husbands will be done racing in 5 mins.” While working the pits for my partner, I was mocked and demeaned over the loud speakers by announcers who said “that’s what you get when a girlfriend pits for you.” …and I sincerely doubt they meant a person who provides meticulous support, and who can tell psi by feel. I really don’t know what else to say about all of this, except that in conjunction with this week in politics, #timesup. I don’t intend to put up with shit like this anymore, and nor do the other women who pour their hearts and energies into this side of their lives. This course has been my favorite for a number of years. But honestly, if another woman asked me if they should make the trek to this race next year, I’d have to said ‘No. Not worth the bullshit.’ C’mon @usacycling you can find better announcers that the goons you had this weekend. 📸 @gvngld
Cyclocross Magazine regrets that anyone came away from any cyclocross race feeling like it wasn’t a welcoming, all-embracing, friendly and most importantly, respectful environment, and reached out to both John Meehan, the promoter of Jingle Cross, and Knight.
Meehan called us back right away, said he was reaching out to the involved parties and would be taking action. Minutes later, through his press officer, offered up the following official statement:
We are aware of offensive remarks made by one of our PA announcers at the Jingle Cross event this weekend in Iowa City. The individual who made the remarks was hired as in independent contractor by us, Jingle Cross, Inc. to serve as the live commentator during all USA Cycling and UCI race events.
The remarks were in poor taste and offensive. They do not align with the ideals of Jingle Cross, our staff, management, or the hundreds of volunteers that help us create this incredible event. The announcer has been notified of the issues and the matter has been handled accordingly. He has been informed that he will no longer be a race announcer at Jingle Cross. We regret this incident and apologize to our riders, spectators, fans, and guests.
We also reached out to Knight and Longo. Knight has agreed to answer questions about the event.
Update: See Part 2 of our reporting on the Jingle Cross announcing in our interview with Knight here.
We hope all future promoters and announcers can learn from these events to ensure all feel welcome and equal at the races.