Opinion -- Protect Our Winters Should Not Call For The Resignation Of Gian Franco Kasper

Credit: Valerii Tkachenko [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper has been making headlines over the week for remarks made during an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tagas Anzeiger (Interview). The remarks were centered around disbelief in climate change science and the ease of working with dictatorships when setting up events. He has since been reported as back peddling, saying that he was misquoted, and finally apologizing for the remarks that he made.

However, yesterday the climate change advocacy group Protect Our Winters has begun a campaign pushing for the resignation of Kasper. One of the outlets they used to bring this to the public was Twitter, as seen below.

The link in the post will take a reader to a webpage that will allow the reader to send an email, similar to the idea of a petition, to support the need for Kasper to resign.

Now, I do support the work that Protect Our Winters does. I also support many of their partners and the athletes that work with that group. However, I can not support the idea of calling for a person's resignation on the basis that they don't agree with what the person has said.

It is a fact that people are entitled to their opinion, no matter how foolish or ignorant that opinion might be. Is it foolish to deny climate change? Of course, it is. There is more than enough scientific data now to support the idea of human-affected climate change. In some cases, we don't really need science to tell us this is true. We can almost just look out the window and see it happening. However, if a person chooses to not ignore these facts, that is their right. As I see it, until Kapser's belief has an effect on the job he is doing or the FIS as a whole, there is no reason to ask for his resignation. For example, if Kasper's choice to ignore climate science takes the FIS in a direction that does not comply with various environmental regulations of the countries that host events, then a case could be made for his resignation. However, it seems to me that these rules are followed, or the events would obviously not be allowed to take place.

As for the remarks about working with a dictatorship, those seem to be taken out of context. The FIS does work in countries that are considered dictatorships. Does that mean they support that type of government? No, that doesn't mean they support that type of government. From a logistics point of view, it would be a lot easier to organize an event in a country where one person can make the decisions if they so choose. Now, whether or not I, or anyone else, agrees with that as a way to do business, that's on us. We don't have to support it at all, but we do have to work within the rules and regulations in that country. Of course, that means that a dictator lead country would be much easier to work in. That also means that the FIS will work within the confines of the regulations of countries that are much tighter, Again, we know this is true because these events do take place.

So, from these standpoints, Protect Our Winters is really only calling for the firing of Kasper because they disagree with what he has said, which is no reason to call for the firing of any person. It could be argued that because I disagree with this action from Protect Our Winters, should call for the firing of their president, Jeremy Jones. Obviously, I shouldn't. Not only is POW and its partners allowed to voice their opinion, but I do also agree and support the work they have been doing. I just don't support this action.

This action, in my opinion, feels like they are playing into the stereotype of the SJW millennial who is offended by everything and feels like they have to ruin the lives of people who don't agree with them. This makes the POW look unprofessional and like they shouldn't be taken seriously. The evidence for this can be seen in the second sentence of the tweet from above. I understand what they think they are doing using "Cuz", but it really is just unprofessional, which looks bad when an organization like this is taking shots at an organization like the FIS. In the end, all they are doing is taking shots at someone they don't agree with who, realistically, was only representing himself in the interview.

Having said all of that, again, I do support POW and the work they are doing. I also support some of their partners and athletes. But calling for the resignation of Kasper is disappointing and disheartening. I would have expected more from a group such as POW and I hope they reconsider what they are trying to do.


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