Travon Free on why fans “can’t shake what happened to Lewis Hamilton”

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Academy Award winner Travon Free says “the collective sports world is angry not because Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton“, but because “our sense of fairness was violated”.

Oscar and Emmy award winner Travon Free has been very vocal about the injustice that happened at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when race director Michael Masi’s controversial decisions created a situation that allowed Max Verstappen to easily win the race and the 2021 Formula 1 title.

Free recently took to Twitter to voice his opinion on why a lot of Formula 1 fans, and sports fans in general, cannot get over these events. With his permission we bring you the full thread as a complete article.

“Listening to so many friends and fans (both super and casual) this week talk about how they can’t shake what happened to Lewis Hamilton I think highlights something we rarely experience as fans of sports in general: Very obvious and blatant unfairness,” Free wrote.

“People, myself included, have been asking ‘why can’t I shake what happened on Sunday? Normally I just move on from a sporting result for the most part and go on with my life’

“But I think it boils down to no matter who you’re a fan of, what you witnessed was a moment that conveyed something completely diametrically opposed to why we love sports in the first place, which is that you can turn up, be the best and someone else can decide to take it from you. That is a deeply unsettling feeling. It’s one we battle every day in the non-sporting arenas of our lives.

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“Every woman who’s ever wondered why a man was promoted over her when she was more qualified. Every person of color who watched their white counterparts advance past them and had to question if they were good enough.

“The daily peril of malignant subjectivity.

“For some of us, while obviously not weighted the same, it had a similar taste to watching a woman win the most votes and then not get to be president. Seems pretty damn unfair.

“But it’s because of the many areas of our lives where success and advancement is beyond our control, that we turn to sports. The thing that literally unites the world every four years. A place where fairness relative to hard work is most likely to be achieved.

“Sports inspire us to work hard in daily lives and remind us that anything is possible. And that “anything” was never supposed to include what Michael Masi did. He made Sunday a sobering reminder of the reality we use sports to escape from. He broke the contract. He robbed us.

“In sports the person who strikes the best balance between talent and hard work usually averages more wins but as the saying goes, on any given Sunday the best can be bested. The underdog can reign supreme. And no one can get in the way of that. Usually.

“There have been plenty of times in history where fairness didn’t win the day in sports but it’s very often the exception. Michael Masi showed it can be the rule. He made a deliberate conscious decision that F1 will have a difficult time washing off.

“The collective sports world is angry not because Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton. We’re angry because our sense of fairness was violated, and done so in the most nakedly egregious way.

“I happen to make my living in one of the most cutthroat, unfair and subjective industries in the world. One that leaves you in a constant state of anxiety and unsureness about what’s going on and are people being fair. Sunday was a direct blow to that trigger. A reminder that I can actually be the best and some guy in a room far away from me can say ‘yeah but I’m giving it to someone else’.

“So now we’re all coping with what it means to experience such a blatant violation of our sense of fairness. We are recalibrating. Some faster than others and some, like myself, who may never fully recover from such a jarring experience.

“My hope is that what happened at the Abu Dhabi GP never happens again. In any aspect of our lives. The reality is it probably will. Only next time, maybe it won’t feel like such a sucker punch and maybe we’ll actually be able to punch back.

“Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. Fire Michael Masi immediately,” concluded Free.

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