It is one thing to protect an athlete's position and battle with business competitors. It is another to represent a brand. One does not represent a global sports brand by bullying and not accepting the ruling of meet officials.
The incidents described below were witnessed by another coach. We all have bad days, but, at the end of the day,we have to remember that what how we act is more important than what we say.
Incidents surrounding 3,000 meter races "Ugly for the sport," by Jon Gugala
by Jon Gugala
Lee Troop is the Boulder-based coach of Laura Thweatt, the athlete who led the early stages of the women's 3000-meters at the 2014 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Thweatt finished fifth (sixth before the disqualification of Gabe Grunewald), and Troop walked with her from the track to the athletes' warm up area to decompress after her race. On the way, he says, he watched Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar screaming at one of the USATF officials at the protest table, Salazar saying it was "bullshit."
Back in the warm-up area, Troop was feet from Nike coach Jerry Schumacher, who was talking to a few people. That's when, Troop says, Salazar stormed into the area with "his posse"--at the very least three other people--and barely escaped making physical contact when confronting Schumacher.
"It was just like this complete continuation from what was going on earlier," Troop says. "[Salazar] just kind of ran and launched [at Schumacher]."
One of Salazar's "posse" intervened before Salazar made contact, but Troop says that though Salazar didn't have a clenched fist, indicating a punch, there definitely would have been a push.
At this point, Salazar was screaming at Schumacher. "You're against us," Troop remembers Salazar saying.
Schumacher, whom he remembers was composed and unrestrained, asked what Salazar was he talking about.
"You're always after us," Troop remembers Salazar screaming back.
"It was just crazy. It was just ridiculous," he says. "It just went on, the screaming match."
But it wasn't just screaming; Salazar was visibly fighting against the restraint of one of his group, and Troop says it was endangering Thweatt. So he jumped up and pushed Salazar and his restrainer away.
To those that witnessed it, Troop says they were more confused than anything.
"It was just like Alberto was looking for any opportunity on any situation," he says. "To be perfectly honest, it was just bad for the sport, the way the whole thing was conducted. It looked poor; it was bad; I think a lot of people are going to be walking away with a really bad taste in their mouth. It's just not right on so many levels."
I've reached out to both Salazar and Schumacher for comment; at the time of this writing neither has responded.
"It was like a volcano that was just building up to erupt," Troop says, "and we saw the complete eruption and the meltdown."
Salazar was ushered off by his "posse," and Troop says Schumacher remained, but was not visibly shaken by the incident.