Jun 27, 2001
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What follows are e-mails readers sent to AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollngsworth, AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition Merrill Vanderslice, and Chairman of the Board of AMA Pro Racing, Mark Tuttle, regarding Pro AMA Racing's censuring Mat Mladin by fining him $5000 and the Championship point he earned by taking pole postion at Loudon. For details of why the AMA says it punished Mladin, and to hear a recording of what Mladin actually said in the post-Superbike-qualifying press conference at Loudon on June 16, click here:<BR> Was Right In Censuring Mladin<BR><BR>The right decision was made by the AMA, in the punishment of Matt Mladin. I personally don't approve of such behavior by professional athletes and racers the like. Motorcycle racing cant possibly attract new fans and sponsorship with Hot-Headed behavior such as that. I applaud the AMA for standing tall and making sound decisions. Especially in the wake of the Edmondson court ruling. Not to mention the constant ranting of John Ulrich on the unfair application of rules or the penalties for the infractions. I also applaud Merril Vanderslice for posting to the WERA bulletin board and addressing some of Mr. Ulrich's claims. I personally hope to see AMA racing grow into an entertainment spectacle that rivals NASCAR. Which I believe will only happen with sound financial decisions, not light-hearted personal ones that lack the foresight to see into the future. Take from this what you will, but these are merely my thoughts and opinions. I have always tried to make it a point to support those that have the greater good in mind.<BR>Mike Sebastian<BR>WERA Novice 805<BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Was Wrong In Censuring Mladin<BR><BR>In response to your censure of Mladin after Loudon's press conference. If the AMA PR Dept. is historically unable to handle media personnel and represent riders' views successfully, a conference attended by said media would appear to be a justified platform to air those (riders) views. Riders should not feel they have to make such statements. <BR><BR>I suggest that the reactionary AMA response to Mladin's statement and subsequent censure, at a time when the governing body is making large out of court settlements, whilst riders rely upon charitable organizations to provide safety equipment is, at best incredible. The AMA should carefully consider its own position before censuring its members with accusations of "detrimental conduct".<BR><BR>Mladin has done a great deal to promote professional motorcycle sport in this country. It is small beans to display frustration with the media at such a daunting faciliy as is Loudon. To react and censure him and his team so severely (that point was not easily achieved) may, however, be easily perceived by others as "conduct detrimental" to the sport.<BR><BR>Rob Hough<BR>San Francisco, CA<BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Should Be Ashamed<BR><BR>The AMA should be ashamed of itself. How can you justify the actions that were taken for just a<BR>simple opinion from a racer? What the AMA should really be taken action on is the root of the frustration.<BR>Why are the racers frustrated? What can the AMA do to alleviate the problems the racers are encountering?<BR>In my mind, that is the whole reason why the AMA exists in the first place. An organization the racers can look up to and seek for help. It sounds like the AMA's priorities have changed and not for the benefit of the racers out there.<BR><BR>Ruben Padilla<BR>OMRRA #130<BR><BR><BR><BR>The Lesson Learned<BR><BR>Lesson for us all, I don't think so. I think the lesson we all are learning is the AMA has and always will be run by a bunch of A-holes whose only concern is how much money they can line their pockets with. I've been involved in U.S. road racing since the early 1970s. I say to Mat Mladin, great job Mat and I hope you don't quit. Fight the good fight Mat Whatever happened to FREE SPEECH?<BR><BR>I cannot believe what the AMA did in trying to censure Mat for saying what is on his mind and what is on the minds of many I am sure. Did anyone notice the amount of the fine just so happens to be what a rider would win for winning a national event? Not only does the AMA NOT want to pay decent money to a person who wins a national event, they want to have the riders pay for it! This is incomprehensible! It is absolutely pathetic at how little a rider receives for winning a national event to begin with! An event, which is televised to millions of viewers all of which are consumers!<BR><BR>I am beyond fed up with the bureaucratic BULLSHIT that is imposed on riders by the AMA with what they call "Detrimental to the Sport." There needs to be more people like Mat who finally have the guts to stand up to assholes like Larry Lawrence and Merrill Vanderslice and tell them just what they really are! When on God's green earth are the factory race teams and all the other participants going to dump the AMA and either start another organization or move to another organization? Go and they will come, I say.<BR><BR>I am incensed to see the AMA repeatedly use bully-type tactics and impose fines and strip riders of points in hopes of keeping riders from telling the media just what a shit organization they really are. This is why Kenny Roberts was so fed up with the AMA and vowed to never return, ever.<BR><BR>I was listening to a radio talk show over the weekend 97.1 KLSX FM here in California. Chris Carr was the guest and he made a point in that people who compete at the professional motorcycle racing have to finish in the top five if they intend to make any money at all. He went on to say that people who race NASCAR for example can circle around in last place and still make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Whereas a rider who wins a national even be it road racing, dirt track, motocross, etc., get what everyone and I consider to be a pathetic sum or what, $5000 or $10,000. And if you win a pole you get a massive $500 or perhaps $1000! This is a joke and an insult to all the riders. We are all consumers and we need to make a stance. We should stop going to these events until the AMA admits to their wrongdoing, increases the purse so people can make a living doing what they love, racing motorcycles instead of these A-HOLES making HUGE salaries and leaving the racers with zip. <BR><BR>FED UP IN SO CA<BR><BR><BR><BR>Mat Shouldn't Have Been Penalized<BR><BR>I was Vice-President/Secretary of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Federation of Motorcyclists, a grand prix road racing body, years ago. I have just listened to the controversial Mat Mladin interview at the Roadracing World web site. I don't Mat should be penalized for giving his opinion; he certainly is qualified to have one. Perhaps he shouldn't have said "shit," but that's a pretty harmless swear word. If the AMA can't stand differences of opinion, then it is really stagnating. In our club, the officers were elected. That's what should happen in the AMA.<BR><BR>Ed Light<BR>firstname.lastname@example.org<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Mladin Did Not Deserve Fine<BR><BR> I have been reading at some length of the incident involving Mat Mladin at the Loudon press conference and of the 600cc race incident. I have also listened to the tape of the press conference. I wanted to share some observations. I have followed motorcycle racing for several decades, have participated in various kinds of motor racing (MX, desert racing, off road car racing, road racing, karting and drag racing) as a racer, and have served as a lawyer (in part representing racers, teams, promoters, and sanctioning bodies in both motorcycle and car racing) since 1971. I have also been an AMA member. Mladin spoke his mind in a thoroughly professional fashion and did not deserve the fine or the point penalty imposed. The AMA action appears to be simply a petty abuse of control over the riders.<BR><BR>The 600cc incident appears to be symptomatic of the same thing, to wit: An all-too-common attitude of "us vs. them" insofar as dealing with your riders. That relationship should be nurturing and mutually beneficial, not adversarial. Riders risk their lives and limbs on tracks and are entitled to be heard on issues of safety. There need to be open lines of communication between riders and sanctioning bodies on these issues. Fostering a hostile relationship is deleterious to the growth of this sport and chases fans and sponsors away. I was more active in representing motorcycle riders in the 1970s and 1980s during which time the AMA was dictatorial and heavy-handed with the riders and promoters and engaged in the same childish power plays that we are seeing now. What happened then was that the AMA created a vacuum into which Supercross groups rushed. SFX now controls SX and the AMA is but a sanctioning group (of which there are others that could serve that function) with a year left on a contract. In short, the AMA gave up control of a fast-growing and now wildly successful branch of this sport by alienating its customer base. <BR><BR>It looks as though the AMA is hell bent to repeat history. Learn from your mistakes. Mean it when you say you have learned from the Edmondson fiasco. Above all, deal with professionals in a professional fashion. If that requires getting people that are professional themselves to run your shows and who have more ability than bare ego, please do so. Lead by example and strength of character, not by shrillness. This sport deserves it.<BR><BR>Thank you.<BR><BR>Walter Nash<BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Must Be Kidding<BR>You boys gotta be kidding, no? And to whom at the AMA should we administer the lethal injection for removing haybales from in front of the concrete barrier last year at Laguna Seca just in time for Jamie Bowman to fly head first into his death?<BR> <BR>Clean up your own act!<BR> <BR>Craig Massey <BR>Hollywood Motorcycles, Inc.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Bostrom Fan Supports Mladin After Hearing Tape<BR><BR>I have been following the news reports and have been slow to judge anyone's actions without first-hand knowledge of the events. I am not a fan of Mat Mladin. I am a huge fan of Eric Bostrom (and his brother). While my argument for fairness will put Eric at a greater disadvantage should Mat retain his point, I would rather see the right thing done and all treated fairly, first and foremost.<BR><BR>Reading the transcript does not give a true and accurate portrayal of Mat's attitude during the press conference. I believe the way he said what was said could have been as bad or worse than the language used. After hearing the recording of his remarks I cannot understand why the "powers at hand" would penalize him as was done. As a fan I don't see where he hurt the AMA, the riders, the track, or the promoters in this situation and I feel he should get his point back and not have to pay $5000. He is also owed an apology and all the riders should be given the opportunity to speak freely and openly but respectfully as Mat did.<BR><BR>Part of the freedom of motorcycling is captured in the freedoms that America represents. To deny someone these freedoms, Australian or otherwise, is to go against the very things the AMA stands for. Give Mat his point back, Eric will still win it all fair and square , give the $5000 back or direct it to charity, and finally admit that things were not handled as they should have been by all at Loudon and gain back a little of the respect and credibility that was lost on last weekend.<BR><BR>Thanks.<BR><BR>Shelley Gruber<BR>New AMA Road Racing Fan<BR><BR><BR><BR>Mladin Fine As Childish As Calling AMA Officials Names<BR><BR>Hey Homos, first off - change your URL from ama-cycle.org to im-on-my-cycle.org. Renew your subscriptions to Martha Stewart's Living to appease your wives, you, "Yes, Dear" wimps. Find a new sport to govern, dog shows would be a good start. Westminster would love to have you (no cussin' allowed) ! Yes, calling you all homos is childish - just as your fine is for Matt Mladin. You are lucky to have such talent in your races!<BR><BR>Please reconsider.<BR><BR>Marc<BR><BR>PS: Like him or not, Dale Earnhart was one of NASCAR's most popular drivers. NASCAR is much more dependent on a large fan base and cooperative advertising (at a level that an organization like yours can only dream of, so far). It is highly unlikely that they would impose such a tax on free speech and strong opinions. Just remember, these are the kinds of comments and verbal exchanges that add drama to the race scene and can and lead to bringing in more fans. Case in point - WWF. Yes, not a true sport, but all the drama and scandal packs in the crowds and the ratings. Get a spine!<BR><BR><BR><BR>Unhappy With AMA Decision<BR><BR>I just wanted to write and express that I am unhappy with the AMA's decision to find Mat Mladin. I think he expressed his opinions in a clear, concise, and honest manner, and had *every* right to do so. Ever heard of freedom of speech?<BR><BR>I am a supporter of the AMA since I am a club-level racer, and respect what is trying to be done for this sport, but each day I am becoming increasingly disappointed in you and question whether I want to be associated with such an organization.<BR><BR>Laura Granato<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Should GHOOA<BR><BR>Get your head out of your ASS!<BR>The fines are bullshit as is the point loss. Is it not about time to start building an OR instead of ruining the existing one. <BR><BR>Wayne A. McDowell <BR>An ex-AMA-member <BR><BR><BR><BR>Moved South To Avoid Yankee BS<BR><BR>I moved to the south to get away from your BS. I wanted to race again, being only 50, and didn't want to put up with your crap anymore. I think it is time you started to listen to JohnUlrich - soon, very, very soon!!<BR><BR>A New WERA Member<BR><BR><BR><BR>Mladin Was Obviously Fined For Criticizing AMA Press Flack and NHIS<BR><BR>As an avid fan of motorcycle road racing, I have been closely following the activities of the AMA Superbike and Supersport series via all available print, television, and electronic (internet) media sources for the last three years. I also have many friends who similarly follow the series.<BR><BR>It is obvious to any fan of your race series that Mat Mladin was not fined for using profanity, nor for criticizing a newpaper reporter and fellow competitors. It is obvious to all that he was fined for criticizing Larry Lawrence and NHIS. Your assertion that "a press conference is not the place to raise personal issues with AMA Pro Racing officials, newspaper reporters, fellow competitors or use foul language" is not only ridiculous, but extremely worrisome to any and all fans. Have you forgotten what country you live in and what the Constitution of the US of A is all about? Let people speak up about things that they feel are important. Occasionally they may say something out of line, but that will eventually come out and only make them look foolish in the end. Keeping everyone so intimidated that they can't say anything other than the same old drivel about getting a good run and thanking the team and sponsors only makes the racers, series, and AMA Pro Racing look foolish.<BR><BR>Furthermore, far too many other recent events (Loudon 600 SS race, the Air Fence fiasco, Daytona pace car incident… the list goes on…) show that your past record on rider safety is truly appalling – the point of moral negligence.<BR><BR>Oh, and then there are the less serious but nonetheless disappointing incidents such as the recent Chuck Chouinard debacle. Please clear this up, by either "fessing up" or providing real evidence that there is more to the story than has been reported so far.<BR><BR>Before you go blaming roadracingworld.com for inciting this letter (along with I'm sure a lot of others), please think again. While I enjoy the fact that roadracingworld.com does not seem to pull any punches in criticizing the AMA, I insist to you that even without roadracingworld.com, your most serious errors in judgment are obvious to everyone. I am writing this on behalf of several of my friends, all of whom agree with this opinion, and some of whom do not even read the articles on roadracingworld.com. Your complete inability to "cover your butts" on these stories is so obvious that no one I know is willing to give AMA Pro Racing the benefit of the doubt anymore.<BR><BR>You are fooling no one. I'm sure you think the political/media situation is ugly or at least annoying now. If you think it's going to go away while you continue with your past policies, think again. How many e-mails and letters to top riders, teams and sponsors do you think it will take to give the riders the confidence to be more vocal? How many complaints to private and/or public companies like Speedvision, Honda/Suzuki/Ducati/Yamaha/Kawasaki, sponsors like Chevy Trucks and Universal Studios, before you have to start taking safety, fair play and integrity seriously?<BR><BR>Lest you think that I'm just some jerk who likes to hear himself speak and loves writing flame letters, let me assure you I am not. Like most people, I often think of writing complaints, but never do. Never, until now. But trust me, unless things really start to change, I've only begun with this topic. And I'm confident that a lot of people feel the same way.<BR><BR>PLEASE stop playing petty politics, and re-evaluate your priorities. Start behaving like professionals. Your racers do. Most of us in the "real world" workforce do too (and we enjoy it). PLEASE make AMA Pro Racing the kind of organization that would encourage me to join the AMA and support the AMA and its sponsors/partners.<BR><BR>Sincerely,<BR><BR>Richard Kovach<BR><BR><BR><BR>A Sad Day<BR><BR>It is a sad day when a race governing body such as the AMA cares more about making money and pleasing the hosting promoters than peoples right to voice their opinion. Mat should be praised and not fined for speaking his mind. Riders and fans should boycott AMA racing if necessary to protect their safety and right to speak out.<BR><BR>Regards,<BR><BR>Chris Borre<BR>Curly442<BR>WERA and CCS #442<BR> Message To Merrill<BR><BR>In the midst of all the controversy over rider safety, riders expressing their opinions and now a Bogus DQ in 750 SS , I would like to say I understand you are under pressure to run a business and please all sides of a complex circus. While I believe AMA road racing has been improved over the years, it pales in comparison to what it could be. I believe it takes a very strong individual to run this program, someone who understands all sides, understands it takes a sanctioning body and talented riders to make this sport attractive to the marketing world, who inevitably pay for it all. Most importantly I believe this person must have strong person values and do the right thing at all time regarding this great sport. Mr. Mladin , and the people who questioned your recent decisions are not detrimental to the sport, you are. I've heard the interview and yes Mat sounds a little ticked, but wasn't offensive or detrimental and does not deserve to be reigned over let alone fined $ and a point . As an AMA member I vote that you resign immediately and move on with your life.<BR><BR>Thank you.<BR><BR>Rick Fairbairn<BR>email@example.com<BR>AMA # 729437<BR>WERA # 52<BR> <BR><BR><BR>Disturbed At How AMA Pro Racing Is Running Things<BR><BR>I am a AMA member, motorcycle dealer, race attendee with Michelin, and most importantly a motorcyclist for the past 36 years. I am disturbed at how AMA Pro Racing is conducting the affairs of Professional Racing here in the USA. Mat Mladin's fine and being docked a point is ridiculous if you listen to the recording of the interview and consider the complete circumstances surrounding the incident. Mr Vanderslice's banning of Dan Lance from any and all hot pit areas and the events that lead to it are another testimonial to the unprofessionalism constantly displayed by AMA Pro Racing.<BR><BR>When not one, two, 10, but ALL the top factory 600cc racers refuse to start a race with virtually no practice at a track that is too well known for its hazards to these riders does it NOT send a message that AMA Pro Racing can hear? How foolish must AMA Pro Racing appear in the press and how many times before changes are made?<BR><BR>Chevrolet might have bailed ya'll out this year but Clear Channel Communications has awfully deep pockets should they decide or be convinced by outsiders to compete head-to-head.....Just a thought.<BR>Oh, and since you've paid him may I suggest you actually read, consider, and heed the truly professional advice that Mr. Gary Mathers WILL provide you with....AMA Pro Racing will do much better if his and other people who have been actively involved in racing directly (motorcycles, That IS!) advice is taken.<BR><BR>Yours Seriously,<BR><BR>Scot M. Tway<BR><BR><BR><BR>Was A Free Country<BR><BR>Kinda of a SHIT thing to do to Mladin. This is a free country last I heard.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Disappointed By AMA Slander<BR><BR>I am very disappointed at the way Mr. Mladin has been slandered by your press release written by Mr. Larry Lawrence. I cannot imagine a professional organization allowing an individual like Mr. Lawrence to mis-represent the facts this way. I feel a formal apology to Mr. Mladin is in order and fining him for exercising free speech in the United States is preposterous. I hope you have a higher regard for the AMA than this. Your organization needs higher caliber members than Mr. Lawrence. Everyone should feel proud that Mr. Mladin is racing for the AMA and that he has the courage to stand up for what is right.<BR><BR>Bill Stroup<BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Officials Need Medical Insurance For Foot Wounds<BR><BR>I hope all you people have a good medical plan because the way you've been shooting yourselves in the foot you're going to need it. We want changes and we want them now. It's time to clean house.<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Mladin Fine Is Another Piece Of The Iceberg<BR><BR>Having listened to the interview, read the AMA press release and read some of the commentary available in the press I am shocked that a national organization representing motorcycling would misrepresent a situation or perhaps I should use a stronger word such as lie. I have been following a number of actions that the AMA has been up to for some time, trying to get a sense of the middle ground in the information wars and this latest idiocy has proven to be the proverbial straw.<BR><BR>I have come to the conclusion that you absolutely must find other employment for Mr. Vanderslice where the skills that he may have can be utilized as he certainly lacks the ability to perform the job that he is in. I believe that unless this change is made and perhaps a number of others, (why is his lack of management ability tolerated by his superiors, etc.) you will ending up fighting a forest fire with a water pistol and the AMA will lose much of its clout in the U.S. racing scene. Most riders I know tolerate this type of stuff until it boils over and then there will be a spark that starts the revolt and then they will be gone to a new organization that will represent the real talent and the AMA will be relegated to club racing level activity. Americans, from their history should be the most aware of this of any group of people (Boston Tea party, Pearl Harbor) If you waken the sleeping giant, be prepared to accept the consequences.<BR><BR>It is in your camp to deal with your issues. I hope you have the courage and the skill to do what is necessary.<BR><BR>Respectfully Yours,<BR><BR>Jay Jennings<BR>firstname.lastname@example.org<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Taped Interview Changes His Mind<BR><BR>I read the AMA press release and thought maybe Mladin was letting his past success go to his head and he was acting like the stars do in most other sports. Upon hearing the taped interview, I believe the AMA is out of line and Mladin deserves a public apology and the fine/penalty canceled. I, along with several friends, did not renew our AMA membership this year because of the lack of credibility and the underhanded AMA actions that were exposed over last couple years. You and the Board Of Directors should be ashamed of yourselves. <BR><BR>Sincerely, <BR><BR>Jim Davis <BR>CCS SW #29 <BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>Against Censorship Of Mladin<BR>I completely support Mat Mladin's ability to express his opinions with regards to an aging, dangerous racetrack. From the public's point of view (i.e.; the fans), it looks like it will take a fatality before the AMA addresses the very serious shortcomings of the Loudon track. What Mat said regarding the track are the truth and the AMA should be ashamed at their attempt to censor a rider's concern. If a rider can not voice his feelings at a point were they would truly be heard then don't allow them access to reporters. I mean if you want to censor your riders (read: control) then eliminate their ability to cause a problem. That is the true nature of the AMA's actions in this case. As far as Mladin's whining about the other riders, we fans are smart enough to acknowledge a baby when he is crying. There is no need to attempt to restrain this behavior because it allows us, the fans, to see who the real rider is, and ignore or support him as we see fit. Don't offer us what you think we want. Mladin earned those points on the racetrack and his behavior off the track shouldn't effect those points at all. That should be left for poor behavior on the track as was the case a couple years back at Pikes Peak. Re-instate the point and maintain the fine but you need to address your role in censoring your riders. Maybe you could model your rules along the lines of the rules that govern free speech here in the US. We are free to speak our minds, aren't we?<BR><BR>Doug Welty <BR>AMA Member<BR><BR><BR><BR>No Problem With Mladin's Statements<BR><BR>I have no problem with Mat's statements, maybe he thought the only way he could get his point across is to do it in the manner he did. This is a country where we do have free speech, or do you guys not have to go by the same rules that the rest of us in the USA do? It is apparent that the racetrack is dangerous because I've never heard any of the fast guys like the place. I am just a race fan not a racer but I would like to see everyone at the next race after this event and it seems someone always gets hurt there and the level of competition goes down because everyone is not at the next event. Leave Mat alone, in my opinion he was just speaking his mind, ,how can you fine someone for that.<BR><BR>Sorry about my poor English, I am not a very good writer.<BR><BR>Scott Moore<BR><BR><BR><BR>He Disagrees With Mladin, So The Fine Should Remain<BR><BR>Mr. Mladin seems to voice an opinion on everything in road racing that affects him more than anyone else. (Racing in the rain). It is well known he is not a world quality racer in the rain therefore "We shouldn't be running this race in the rain." Everyone else who is experienced in the rain didn't seem to have that much problem with it. <BR><BR>Another example; "We need to do something about those ‘backmarkers'. They need to go back to the smaller races and learn to ride before ‘they' are allowed to race with us". Now it seems that if you don't prepare the track for "us" (Pro AMA) we will decide to do something about it. To semi-quote Mr. Mladin. <BR><BR>As an Amateur CCS racer and MOTORCYCLIST, I believe his decisions should be his own and should be kept to himself. He got into road racing because he wanted to race just like the rest of us. I could voice my opinions (Older people should not be allowed to drive in the country on twisty roads on the weekends when motorcyclists are going to be using the roads to "play") but it would do no more than make me seem like an idiot. Mr. Mladin has captured the Number One competition plate for his class of racing and nothing more. I cannot think of anything else that he has contributed to the sport that would make him more of a "God" to make demands about how money is spent on OUR sport. I have been a Motorcyclist since 1962 and have owned 103 motorcycles and joined road racing again in the year 2000 at the age of 54. My opinion should be handled just as his, considered as an OPINION and nothing else. If Mr. Mladin wants to join in on OUR sport he should "Get in-set down-shut up and hold on." THE FINE SHOULD REMAIN.......... <BR><BR>Very Sincerely<BR><BR>Dick Snider <BR>CCS Amateur # 215 <BR><BR><BR><BR>AMA Decision Is Ludicrous<BR><BR>As a member of the AMA, a die-hard road racing fan, and a racer I find the AMA's decision to fine Mat Mladin and strip him of a championship point "for detrimental conduct during a post-qualifying press conference" to be ludicrous. I listened to his comments and he spoke very calmly and clearly and addressed issues that had been brought up during the race weekend. I don't know what a press conference is for if it isn't to allow the people being interviewed to express their opinions. That is what Matt did and his comments seemed well thought and pertinent to the event. Apparently the AMA would rather that the riders simply shut up and keep all disagreements to themselves so that the rest of the world never hears about the AMA's dirty laundry.<BR><BR>Mat's actions are good for the sport. He is trying to bring up issues in a public forum that the AMA refuses to address privately. The need for the riders to do this is amply demonstrated by the AMA disregarding rider and team owner input with regards to safety and rule making. Without the vocal and public statements of people like Mat Mladin the public would never hear about these issues. If the AMA doesn't want the riders to feel compelled to publicly air their dirty laundry, then perhaps they should make a better effort to solicit input from all affected parties, listen, and implement policies to address valid concerns.<BR><BR>The thing I find most disturbing about the AMA is its penchant for self-deception and its practice of misrepresenting facts that make it look bad. The press release regarding Mladin's fine states that he opened the press conference "using profanity at times." By my count he used the word "shit" one time. That is one time, not times. Does it make a difference? Yes, because your press release make it sound like he launched into a profane tirade and that clearly misrepresents what actually happened. What he said is, "I'm tired of reading this shit." His conduct sure sounded professional when I listened to it. It sounds like his greatest sin was saying things that the AMA doesn't like to hear and offending some officials.<BR><BR>Maybe you can explain to me what is wrong with the three following issues that Matt raised.<BR><BR>1) It was incorrectly reported that he refused to talk to reports. He took the opportunity to inform the press what really happened.<BR><BR>2) He doesn't feel that the money that the speedway has been spent improves safety for motorcycles.<BR><BR>3) He was balked on his pole lap by riders on their out lap.<BR><BR>What is wrong with you guys? If all you want in the press conferences is sunshine and sponsor plugs why don't you just hand out a script and make sure that nobody says anything negative? Hearing the good and the bad is what makes a press conference interesting. Hearing Mladin whine about being balked is a hoot given some of his previous antics (remember Bostrom at Pike's Peak?). Hearing a whining rider is hardly detrimental to the sport.<BR><BR>At the worst it's humorous.<BR><BR>Apparently the AMA feels that it is beyond reproach and any criticism of its conduct is detrimental to the sport of motorcycle racing. Unfortunately, I think the biggest detriment to the sport is th