Some good news coming in tonight: USATF CEO Max Siegel has issued a letter to the presidents of all USATF associations explaining that Sisu’s video will be reinstated on YouTube.
For those not in the loop, or those that need a refresher, here is the link to our post from Sisu about the situation.
Here is the letter from the CEO, in full:
We reached out USATF-NE association president Tom Derderian for comment in light of this news, and Tom responded with:
As USATF-NE association president I have urged our member clubs to participate first in USATF-NE events and then national events. SISU, a young club, accepted my encouragement to field teams at XC and on the roads and track. They produced a video about their club’s adventure going to Lehigh, PA for the club XC nationals. I want to keep their enthusiasm going. I want them to go to the club track champs in NYC in July and to San Francisco in December. I want other clubs to go too. That’s why we exist.
Through back channels to some people in the office I suggested that USATF encourage member clubs to promote their participation in USATF events with stories, photos and video, but retain the overall right to the events and vigorously defend its intellectual property from all outside use. Then put the video back up on You Tube.
We want to hold to a truth that “We are USATF” includes all members and that we will all benefit from enthusiastic promotion of USATF by member clubs. We don’t want to suppress our clubs but we do want to defend our rights against outside entities. I am happy that others echoed the same sentiments because it is the purpose of USATF. I am pleased that USATF responded so quickly.
What about Sisu, the club that brought this issue to the spotlight? Well they released this statement to us this evening:
We are pleased to hear USATF CEO Max Siegel’s statement on the most recent issue concerning the removal of our video. We hope that USATF continues to honor the statement that “[v]ideos like this particular one, which are not commercial efforts and which seek to provide exposure to our dedicated rank-and-file, help the efforts of all of us in the sport” and that in the future these videos will not be quickly removed as some clubs may not have the time or resources to respond to such actions.
We also want to thank the membership who responded attentively to this issue by sharing and re-sharing the article and expressing support through many mediums. We would like to thank the media, especially LetsRun, Track & Field News and Level Renner. We know it was the effort of both the membership and the media drawing attention to this issue that contributed to this prompt response from CEO Siegel. We hope the membership continues to speak out and speak up, and that the media continues to show interest in stories that don’t necessarily involve the pro element of the sport that they cover. We also thank the USATF-NE Board for supporting us in contacting USATF on our behalf in order to make clear that USATF Clubs can continue to promote and disseminate this kind of footage.
We believe in continuing to be members of USATF and not boycotting, so that we have a voice and that we can affect positive change from the inside.
We were happy to see reason prevail here. It shows that USATF on the highest level can hear their members’ voices and respond quickly and appropriately. But it’s only a start. This issue might be rectified, but it does make us wonder why they caved to this pressure and not to the greater pressure of an (arguably) more serious situation: the Hersh/Hightower IAAF delegate fiasco. Why not do the right thing there? One thing at a time I guess. For now, we’re happy that we were able to help Sisu call more attention to this issue. Hopefully it’s not a recurring problem.