For those of you not in the know, Stephen Murray is a professional BMXer that was critically injured last weekend at the first 2007 stop of a traveling professional circuit comp called the Dew Tour. The Dew Tour is funded by Mountain Dew, Ballpark Franks and a shitload of other corporate sponsors. It’s also broadcast on MTV2 and NBC.
Basically, it’s big time. Riders that win the year-end title win $75,000, the cash purse at each event is pretty huge and the whole thing screams of corporate money trying to hook in with an activity that used to equate itself with counterculture.
Last Saturday, Stephen went down on a double backflip, crushed a few vertebrae and is now in intensive care in Baltimore, unable to move, surrounded by his family and a quickly amounting stack of medical bills. The crash has potentially ended his career and will definitely affect the rest of his life.
Now I’ve gotta give credit to the BMX crowd; everyone, regardless of the various strata that rip BMX apart, have rallied in support of Stephen, sending money and support his way.
Everyone, it seems, except for the companies that put the event on. I haven’t heard the inside story on this yet, so I might be jumping the gun a bit, but Stephen Murray was giving his all to make the first stop of the Dew Tour something that people would want to watch on TV, and something that would in turn make people want to drink Mountain Dew and eat Ballpark hot dogs. Yet, those brands ahve been steadily silent since the crash. Kids on message boards are donating $5 at a time out of their allowance, and the companies that essentially put Stephen in the position he’s in have done nothing.
Hopefully I’m proven wrong and NBC takes care of Stephen’s bills, or at least a good portion of it, but right now, I’m pretty fucking irritated that any BMXer participating in the Dew Tour is a pawn and nothing more. Get well Stephen, everyone is pulling for you.
An addendum: In the past, ESPN has paid for athletes’ injuries if the injuries happened during and ESPN event, be it the X-Games or the B3 comps. And if you wanna call me a hypocrite, please have the balls to leave your name and contact info so I can get in touch and discuss.