Editorial: Gary Hall fined $5,000. Can Captain Defiance Save the Day?

By Brent Rutemiller

PHOENIX, August 22. GARY Hall, Jr. was fined $5,000 by USA Swimming for not wearing the team uniform to the starting blocks before his 50 meter freestyle race in Athens.

Dressed in HIS red, white and blue robe, Captain Defiance showed his true colors. Gary Hall Jr. in not a team player. Because he won the gold, we are supposed to applaud his maverick ways and overlook his methods.

Gary Hall signed an agreement to abide by the team code. Like all the other USA Swimming athletes who signed the agreement, he agreed to wear the team uniform. The team uniform is not about the Speedo logo as Gary would like us to believe; it’s about team.

By signing the code, he agreed to make all the team meetings and to come to finals each night. Instead, Gary left the Olympic team village to visit a Greek island and missed watching his teammates in the finals one night. Gary Hall Jr. is not about team. Never was and probably never will be. USA Swimming is all about team; always was and always will.

Evidently Gary’s written signature means nothing. Because he won the gold, we are all supposed to look the other way. Because he was upset over the relay selection process, we are supposed to empathize with him. Captain Defiance plays the media to perfection by fighting "injustice" wherever it lurks.

As Captain Defiance, he wears his own uniform made by HIS sponsor to the blocks, and then blames USA Swimming for selling out to Speedo as the reason for not wearing the team uniform. Then when he is fined for breaking his word to honor the code, he turns back into Gary Hall, Jr. playing the victim role. All of this at the expense of Team USA’s public image and for his own personal gain.

The fallacy of it all is that Gary Hall, Jr. creates his own injustices, masterfully inserting himself in the role of victim where only he can save himself. This IS the intrigue. These are the stories that make writers run out of ink.

USA Swimming is an easy target here and is taking a pounding from the media over upholding the core of what has made it so successful: Team.

I like you, Gary. Always have and always will. But, Gary, you don’t have to play this Captain Defiance role any further. Admit that what you did was wrong and you did not abide by the team code. Take your place in history and save Captain Defiance for the comic books.