The NYRR Facebook page is a very dangerous place right now. I’ve never seen such anger/passion on the issue of whether the NYCM should be canceled because of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy. The opinion express there is virtually unanimous that the race should be canceled. My view is that if there’s no compromising of recovery efforts, the race should go forward. Doing what we do is what New Yorkers do. Of course now that the Marathon has become an event and not simply a race, it has all sorts of (figurative) baggage.
This post is not about that, though.
I try. I really try not to say bad things about NYRR. Indeed, I say good things. Just listen to the New York Running Show. Someone told me recently that it’s the way I say whatever I say that comes across badly.
I am stunned at how NYRR is responding to this. During BaggageGate, NYRR was slow to react. Who knows what it was doing internally, but it was deafeningly silent outwardly. In the aftermath, Mary Wittenberg said how valuable social media were to NYRR because they allow immediate feedback.
Its dealing with Hurricane Sandy is inexplicable to me.
Here is the simple point. NYRR knew very early that the issue of holding the Marathon was going to be touchy. In my view, there was one thing it could have done right off the bat that I think would have significantly altered the discussion. This is no secret as I posted this on the NYRR Facebook page yesterday (and it was ignored). And it’s no secret because it’s seems pretty obvious. Here’s what it should have said:
We are monitoring the situation. We will, however, not hold the race if we learn that to do so would make it more difficult for the City and other organizations to provide needed recovery-aid.
It could add the typical NYRR stuff that we always hear. Had it gotten ahead of the debate, or even caught up to it in its early stages, the discussion would have been on the moral appropriateness of going forward when New Yorkers and New Jerseyans and other neighbors are suffering. That’s a different debate. Instead the debate has that element but is overwhelmed by the diversion meme, which may or may not be true, but that NYRR has not addressed.
On that last point, NYRR is silent on the issue. So far as I can tell, it has punted to Mayor Bloomberg.
I recently gave people at NYRR lots of credit for being smart and dedicated. But for people who appear so attuned to the PR game, I don’t understand how these smart people can fuck up so badly, and so frequently. Color me naive.
If you’re wondering whence the title for this post, it’s a reference to one of the great movies, “Die Hard”. When the LAPD cop slowly drives up to the building before all hell breaks out, John Mcclane stares down and says, “Who’s driving that car, Stevie Wonder?”