Twitter Fight with Racial Overtones Breaks Out Between USATF Athletes Advisory Committee (AAC) Chair Dwight Phillips and Lauren Fleshman and Nick Symmonds

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by LetsRun.com
April 6, 2016

Over the last few days, a public Twitter exchange with racial overtones has broken out between USATF Athletes Advisory Committee (AAC) chair Dwight Phillips and athletes Lauren Fleshman and Nick Symmonds. The exchange began with Fleshman tweeting at the USATF Athletes Advisory Committee Twitter account about not receiving any emails from the AAC this year and Phillips responding by implying that Fleshman was being racist (Phillips is black, Fleshman and Symmonds are white).

Things escalated from there with Phillips eventually including Symmonds in the conversation and accusing Oiselle (Fleshman’s sponsor) and Brooks (Symmonds’ sponsor) of being racist with regard to the athletes they sponsor.

Phillips seems unpleased with the racial make-up of this group

Then yesterday, a completely separate Twitter argument began between Phillips and marathoner Patrick Rizzo on issues surrounding the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. We have embedded the tweets from both those conversations below in (mostly) chronological order. Fleshman, Symmonds and, recently, Rizzo have been very vocal in their complaints about USATF.

Quick Thought #1: When the head of the AAC is having a public Twitter battle with the athletes who are under his care, implying they are racist, it’s not a good day for the sport and is a controversy the sport does not need.  

On the first page of the AAC section on the USATF website it states that the AAC’s mission is to “communicate the interests and protect the rights and privileges of athletes” and that it will achieve this by “treat[ing] our athletes with respect and appreciation.”

We’re a long way from achieving the AAC mission, as in 2016 there isn’t anything much more disrespectful that you can do to someone than to publicly imply they are racist.

Quick Thought #2: In case you didn’t already know it, Twitter is not the place for people to have constructive dialogue.

The tweets appear below. Discuss the controversy on our fan forum / messageboard: MB: Dwight Phillips vs. Lauren Fleshman and Nick Symmonds on Twitter *Dwight Phillips to Lauren Fleshman “Just face it your tweets are racially charged” Screen Shots Attached

Fleshman tweeted something here, but it was deleted.

Unless Symmonds was part of Fleshman’s deleted tweet, this is the first he’s been mentioned in the conversation.

Editor’s note: Adam Nelson doesn’t appear to be on the AAC, though he is the president of the Track and Field Athletes Association (which is not affiliated with USATF).

Editor’s note: Here’s some threads ripping Logan, here’s some ripping Masback.

At this point, UK’s 2004 Olympic heptathlon bronze medalist Kelly Sotherton interjected.

As far as we could see on Twitter, the conversation ended there before 1:00 p.m. on April 2nd. But then at 11:54 a.m. on the 3rd, Phillips was tweeting at Symmonds and Fleshman again.

That was Fleshman’s last tweet in this exchange, but the conversation between Phillips and Symmonds continued.

At this point Symmonds also tried to end the public Twitter conversation, but Phillips egged him on and called him out for his use of social media.

That was the last of the Twitter exchange on April 3rd. Then yesterday, April 5th, 2:13 marathoner Patrick Rizzo sent a public message to Phillips and another heated argument followed, this time between Rizzo and Phillips with Fleshman eventually joining in.

For those not familiar with the topic of discussion, after the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, Rizzo wrote a blog post about what he felt the organizational shortcomings were in LA. It would seem that that blog post eventually turned into a conversation between Rizzo and Phillips/USATF.

That was the end of the Rizzo-Phillips back-and-forth, but there was also another side conversation between Fleshman and Phillips.

Discuss the controversy on our fan forum / messageboard: MB: Dwight Phillips vs. Lauren Fleshman and Nick Symmonds on Twitter *Dwight Phillips to Lauren Fleshman “Just face it your tweets are racially charged” Screen Shots Attached


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