Okay, I took down a new poll because it was poorly worded and everyone was getting it WRONG! It started because I was curious what the USAC rules were, assuming each side's worst-case scenario: hooking another rider vs. throwing something at another rider. And I was also curious what knee-jerk reactions were to the same question. Well rules is rules, and the maximum penalty for a hook is 20 days, while the maximum penalty for throwing something at a rider is one year, plus 20 days for dangerous riding, and 10 days for walking into the middle of the race.
This situation reminds me of the idea of self-defense. Somehow the "right" to defend yourself rings a powerful bell in this society, but the circumstances under which you can use it are more limited than most think. For example, you can't assault someone who's trespassing, or trying to steal something, or who just ran into your car, no matter how malicious. It's frustrating to read the opinions of all these jokers who clearly don't understand the rules or the circumstances of that race. Equally annoying is this David vs. Goliath undertone: that somehow, because our team has a pedigree in the sport and took control of the race, therefore we're all thugs, since the little guy who takes on the giant is always noble.
And by far the hardest part, I'm sure for all of us, is keeping our mouths shut even though we'd like to shout at the top of our lungs defending ourselves. Trying to resolve a dispute like this through the media is like breaking up with your girlfriend via twitter. But at the same time, it feels like by taking the high ground in the long term and remaining tight-lipped, we're losing out in the short term. The social standard seems to be that silence in the face of accusation shows tacit guilt. I hope that at the end of all of this there's some thorough explanation of what happened rather than just a solemn statement doling out punishments; otherwise it feels like our gentle giant tactics won't really have paid off, and we'll remain tied down by all those BS media impressions.