Another volley in the battle between USA Track and Field (USATF) and the Track and Field Athletes Association (TFAA) was fired on Friday, with the TFAA posting a plea asking sponsors not to penalize athletes in the event said athletes organize some sort of formal boycott or protest of USATF events.
"We humbly request your official recognition of the Track and Field Athletes Association (TFAA) as the collective voice of elite and professional track and field athletes, and your support of the athletes’ rights to participate in TFAA calls to action. The TFAA is a 501(c)(4) organization formed to support the rights and interests of elite and professional track and field athletes. Our goals include enhancing the value of our athletes in the marketplace and attracting fans through a stronger sport. We further request that you not penalize your athletes for participating in collective action that may preclude them from competing in a sanctioned event, and that you agree to identify alternative events, if necessary, to satisfy any sponsor obligations."
It’ll be interesting to see how apparel sponsors respond to such a request. While the TFAA certainly seems “in the right” with regards to their grievances — considering the ridiculous disqualifications, canceled meetings, and general lack of transparency on the part of USATF — the sheer amount of power held by USATF could sway sponsors’ opinions (there is money involved, after all, and companies want to protect their respective bottom lines).
We’ll keep you updated as the battle wears on.