We had a discussion today during or weekly call on what is the proper way if any for us to discuss a woman's weight and/or eating disorders on LetsRun.com and what sort of discussion we should allow on LetsRun.com.
This came up for two reasons: 1) There was a lot of discussion this weekend about a thin collegiate athlete. She and her team did well and immediately the discussion was on her weight with comments such as "(she) needs to be yanked off the line. What kind of irresponsible coach/athletic training staff allows something like that to continue?? We're talking about severe psychological issues here that are going to linger for the rest of her life if someone doesn't intervene."
Then there was a thread started by her teammate defending her saying she has a lot of food allergies, a medical condition. The teammate then emailed us asking us to remove the thread. We removed all the threads.
Then people started starting threads saying we were protecting the coach of this athlete by not allowing a discussion of whether his program puts women who have eating disorders on the starting line.
2) This morning there was a thread discussing the weight of a pro female athlete and whether she had put on weight. It was the 2nd most popular thread in a few minutes before we removed it.
As for #1) eating disorders are a major problem in the sport. They need to be discussed. However, we at LRC don't need to be discussing whether a specific athlete has an eating disorder. If someone is super thin and that is all people are talking about then we could bring it up with the program, but no reason for us to mention it otherwise.
If someone says, "so and so sure looks thin" that in itself is an observation. That seems acceptable to me. However, when people make the jump and speculate why she is thin is where I think we should draw the line, especially for college athletes. If it's a pro, they can take a little more scrutiny. If someone says, "I think so and so would run better if they put on weight" that seems ok.
Others have argued that we should allow this discussion because too many college coaches let athletes compete when they should not be competing so why not allow a little scrutiny? The argument makes sense in the abstract, but the discussion is not in the abstract, people end up speculating on the health of college athletes.
I'm open to your thoughts on helping us define a more formal policy.
2) As for the pro athlete putting on weight, almost no one would have an issue if the discussion was about a male athlete. However, people usually don't start threads on male pro athletes discussing their weight outside of athletic performance. With the female athlete, people were just speculating she had put on weight.
Now one might argue this thread on Nick Symmonds is similar: "Nick Symmonds is a tank. What weight is he? https://www.letsrun.com/forum/f...ad=4554545
Our thinking was the thread had nothing to do with the athlete's performance so it should be removed. Now the Symmonds thread doesn't have anything to do with his performance either and we leave it up. So does that make us sexist? smart? or what?
We're opening this up for discussion. The most thoughtful response judge by us from a registered user will get an LRC tshirt.