The USOC has finally gone too far. And by finally, I mean they did a while ago, but now they have REALLY done it. In a yarn I couldn’t spin myself even if I tried, they are going after grandmas, moms, sisters, daughters, and anyone else that deigns to pick up a knitting needle in support of Ravelympics. The USOC is going after people who knit at the knitting fan site, Ravelry. As one of the members writes on her blog (the post humorously titled “2 Million Knitters with Pointy Sticks are Angry at the US Olympic Committee“):
The US Olympic Committee just sent a cease and desist letter to Ravelry.com for a member-created activity held every two years called Ravelympics. Namely, they declared that the usage of Ravelympic was an infringement on that name, and furthermore, that the activities we hold, such as knitting “afghans,” actually “denigrate” the nature of the Olympic events and are disrespectful to the athletes. Yes, because clearly an activity created to show our love and support for an international series of sports games is infringing upon the USOC’s ability to make money, right? What is most despicable about their bullying actions is that they are calling out groups of crafters who are doing something in their honor – some of these knitters and crocheters are actually working to make the athletes specially handknit items!
I cannot fathom how they can actually believe that knitting is disrespectful to athletes. Apparently, encouraging people to do something productive with their time, while watching the commercial festival of sports, is a bad idea. Given that later in the Cease and Desist letter the lawyers (yes, it’s the lawyers not the athletes that are behind this) point to the weakening of the brand and thus their support from their sponsors, we see that this is about the money. Perhaps what they are really saying is “Don’t make your own clothing and household goods. Our sponsors want you to buy their products–you are unfairly competing with products made from love (and wool.)”
I would encourage the USOC to think about one other thing. While Ravelry’s pockets may not be deep, and the pockets of their members may be shallow as well, the collective effort of over 2 million members each giving only $2 to a legal defense fund–well that sort of money can go a long way. And if they give $5? or $10? Is that REALLY how you want to spend your money? Chasing down people who knit?
It’s time for the USOC to sheepishly back down, and stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the world by pretending to be caring about the athletes.
Read about the International Olympic Buffoonery
Support a fellow knitter–see @GLG_Girl’s non-olympic patterns at her site here.
(N.B. Go visit the sites linked, and see for yourself what they are saying–they are even going after patterns that sometimes even simply evoke an Olympic theme. Good Golly Miss Molly…)