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:
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.